National Library of Scotland
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2011 with funding from
National Library of Scotland
This Edinburgh Edition consists of
one thousand and thirty-five copies
Vol. IX. of issue : July 1895
THE WORKS OF
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
THE WORKS OF
PRINTED BY T. AND A. CONSTABLE FOR
LONGMANS GREEN AND CO : CASSELL AND CO.
SEELEY AND CO : CHAS. SCRIBNER'S SONS
AND SOLD BY CHATTO AND WINDUS
PICCADILLY : LONDON
First Edition: Longmans and Co. , 1885.
Originally miblished, 'Longman's Maga
zine,' April to October 1885.
Dedication . . • • . xv
i. In which the Prince departs on an
ii. In which the Prince plays Haroun-al-
Raschid .... 9
in. In which the Prince comforts Age and
Beauty and delivers a Lecture on
Discretion in Love . . .22
iv. In which the Prince collects Opinions
by the way . . • .36
OF LOVE AND POLITICS
I. What happened in the Library . . 55
II. 'On the Court of Griinewald,' being a
Portion of the Traveller's Manuscript 70
in. The Prince and the English Traveller . 79
iv. While the Prince is in the Ante-room ... 89
v. ... Gondremark is in my Lady's
Chamber . . . .96
vi. The Prince delivers a Lecture on
Marriage, with Practical Illustrations
of Divorce .... 105
vii. The Prince dissolves the Council . 117
viii. The Party of War takes action . .129
ix. The Price of the River Farm ; in which
Vainglory goes before a Fall . . 138
x. Gotthold's Revised Opinion ; and the
Fall completed . . .153
xi. Providence Von Rosen : Act the First
— She beguiles the Baron . .164
xii. Providence Von Rosen : Act the Second
— She informs the Prince . . 172
xiii. Providence Von Rosen : Act the Third
— She enlightens Seraphina . . 185
xiv. Relates the Cause and Outbreak of the
Revolution . . . .194
I. Princess Cinderella . . . 209
ii. Treats of a Christian Virtue . .231
in. Providence Von Rosen : Act the Last
— In which she gallops off . . 239
iv. Babes in the Wood . . . 250
bibliographical postscript, to complete
the story .... 260
TO NELLY VAN BE GRIFT
(MRS. ADULFO SANCHEZ, OF MONTEREY)
At last, after so many years, I have the pleasure of re-introduc-
ing you to Prince Otto, whom you will remember a very little
fellow, no bigger, in fact, than a few sheets of memoranda written
for me by your hind hand. The sight of his name will carry
you bade to an old wooden house embowered in creepers ; a house
that was far gone in the respectable stages of antiquity, and
seemed indissoluble from the green garden in which it stood, and
that yet was a sea-traveller in its younger days, and had come
round the Horn piecemeal in the belly of a ship, and might have
heard the seamen stamping and shouting and the note of the
boatswain's whistle. It will recall to you the nondescript in-
habitants, now so widely scattered : — the two horses, the dog, and
the four cats, some of them still looking in your face as you read
these lines; — the poor lady, so unfortunately married to an
author ;—the China boy, by this time, perhaps, baiting his line
by the banks of a river in the Flowery Land ; — and in par-
ticular the Scot who was then sick apparently unto death, and
whom you did so much to cheer and keep in good behaviour.
You may remember that he was full of ambitions and designs:
so soon as he had his health again completely, you may re-
member the fortune he was to earn, the journeys he was to go
upon, the delights he was to enjoy and confer, and (among other
matters) the masterpiece he was to make of Prince Otto !
Well, we will not give in that we arejinally beaten. We read
together in those days the story of Braddock, and how, as he
was carried dying from the scene of his defeat, he promised him-
self to do better another time : a story that will always touch a
brave heart, and a dying speech worthy of a more fortunate
commander. I try to be of BraddocWs mind. I stilly mean to
get my health again ; I still purpose, by hook or crook, this book
or the next, to launch a masterpiece ; and I still intend — some-
how, some time or other — to see your face and to hold your
Meanwhile, this little paper traveller goes forth instead,
crosses the great seas and the long plains and the dark moun-
tains, and comes at last to your door in Monterey, charged with
tender greetings. Pray you, take him in. He comes from a
house where (even as in your own) there are gathered together
some of the wafs of our company at Oakland; a house— for all
its outlandish Gaelic name and distant station — where you are
IN WHICH THE PRINCE DEPARTS ON AN ADVENTURE
You shall seek in vain upon the map of Europe for
the bygone state of Griinewald. An independent
principality, an infinitesimal member of the German
Empire, she played, for several centuries, her part
in the discord of Europe ; and, at last, in the ripe-
ness of time and at the spiriting of several bald
diplomatists, vanished like a morning ghost. Less
fortunate than Poland, she left not a regret behind
her; and the very memory of her boundaries has
It was a patch of hilly country covered with thick
wood. Many streams took their beginning in the
glens of Griinewald, turning mills for the inhabitants.
There was one town, Mittwalden, and many brown,
wooden hamlets, climbing roof above roof, along the
steep bottom of dells, and communicating by covered
bridges over the larger of the torrents. The hum
of watermills, the splash of running water, the clean
odour of pine sawdust, the sound and smell of the
pleasant wind among the innumerable army of the
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
mountain pines, the dropping fire of huntsmen, the
dull stroke of the wood-axe, intolerable roads, fresh
trout for supper in the clean bare chamber of an inn,
and the song of birds and the music of the village-
bells — these were the recollections of the Grunewald
North and east the foothills of Grunewald sank
with varying profile into a vast plain. On these
sides many small states bordered with the princi-
pality, Gerolstein, an extinct grand duchy, among
the number. On the south it marched with the com-
paratively powerful kingdom of Seaboard Bohemia,
celebrated for its flowers and mountain bears, and
inhabited by a people of singular simplicity and
tenderness of heart. Several intermarriages had, in
the course of centuries, united the crowned families
of Grunewald and Maritime Bohemia ; and the last
Prince of Grunewald, whose history I purpose to
relate, drew his descent through Perdita, the only
daughter of King Florizel the First of Bohemia.
That these intermarriages had in some degree
mitigated the rough, manly stock of the first
Griinewalds, was an opinion widely held within the
borders of the principality. The charcoal burner,
the mountain sawyer, the wielder of the broad axe
among the congregated pines of Grunewald, proud
of their hard hands, proud of their shrewd ignorance
and almost savage lore, looked with an unfeigned
contempt on the soft character and manners of the
The precise year of grace in which this tale begins
DEPARTS ON AN ADVENTURE
shall be left to the conjecture of the reader. But
for the season of the year (which, in such a story, is
the more important of the two), it was already so far
forward in the spring, that when mountain people
heard horns echoing all day about the north-west
corner of the principality, they told themselves that
Prince Otto and his hunt were up and out for the
last time till the return of autumn.
At this point the borders of Griinewald descend
somewhat steeply, here and there breaking into
crags ; and this shaggy and trackless country stands
in a bold contrast to the cultivated plain below. It
was traversed at that period by two roads alone ;
one, the imperial highway, bound to Brandenau in
Gerolstein, descended the slope obliquely and by the
easiest gradients. The other ran like a fillet across
the very forehead of the hills, dipping into savage
gorges, and wetted by the spray of tiny waterfalls.
Once it passed beside a certain tower or castle, built
sheer upon the margin of a formidable cliff, and
commanding a vast prospect of the skirts of Griine-
wald and the busy plains of Gerolstein. The
Felsenburg (so this tower was called) served now as
a prison, now as a hunting-seat ; and for all it stood
so lonesome to the naked eye, with the aid of a good
glass the burghers of Brandenau could count its
windows from the lime-tree terrace where they
walked at night.
In the wedge of forest hillside enclosed between
the roads, the horns continued all day long to scatter
tumult; and at length, as the sun began to draw
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
near to the horizon of the plain, a rousing triumph
announced the slaughter of the quarry. The first
and second huntsman had drawn somewhat aside,
and from the summit of a knoll gazed down before
them on the drooping shoulders of the hill and across
the expanse of plain. They covered their eyes, for
the sun was in their faces. The glory of its going
down was somewhat pale. Through the confused
tracery of many thousands of naked poplars, the
smoke of so many houses, and the evening steam
ascending from the fields, the sails of a windmill on
a gentle eminence moved very conspicuously, like a
donkey's ears. And hard by, like an open gash, the
imperial high-road ran straight sunward, an artery
There is one of nature's spiritual ditties, that has
not yet been set to words or human music : ' The
Invitation to the Road ' ; an air continually sounding
in the ears of gipsies, and to whose inspiration our
nomadic fathers journeyed all their days. The hour,
the season, and the scene, all were in delicate
accordance. The air was full of birds of passage,
steering westward and northward over Grtinewald,
an army of specks to the up-looking eye. And
below, the great practicable road was bound for the
But to the two horsemen on the knoll this spiritual
ditty was unheard. They were, indeed, in some
concern of mind, scanning every fold of the subjacent
forest, and betraying both anger and dismay in their
DEPARTS ON AN ADVENTURE
* I do not see him, Kuno,' said the first hunts-
man, 'nowhere — not a trace, not a hair of the
mare's tail ! No, sir, he 's off ; broke cover and got
away. Why, for twopence I would hunt him with
the dogs ! '
'Mayhap he's gone home,' said Kuno, but with-
* Home ! ' sneered the other. * I give him twelve
days to get home. No, it 's begun again ; it 's as it
was three years ago, before he married ; a disgrace !
Hereditary prince, hereditary fool ! There goes the
government over the borders on a grey mare.
What 's that ? No, nothing — no, I tell you, on my
word, I set more store by a good gelding or an
English dog. That for your Otto ! '
' He 's not my Otto,' growled Kuno.
* Then I don't know whose he is,' was the retort.
'You would put your hand in the fire for him
to-morrow,' said Kuno, facing round.
' Me ! ' cried the huntsman. ' I would see him
hanged ! I 'm a Griinewald patriot — enrolled, and
have my medal too ; and I would help a prince !
I 'm for liberty and Gondremark.'
' Well, it 's all one,' said Kuno. ' If anybody said
what you said, you would have his blood, and you
'You have him on the brain,' retorted his com-
panion. — ' There he goes ! ' he cried, the next
And sure enough, about a mile down the moun-
tain, a rider on a white horse was seen to flit rapidly
DEPARTS ON AN ADVENTURE
across a heathy open and vanish among the trees on
the farther side.
'In ten minutes he'll be over the border into
Gerolstein,' said Kuno. * It's past cure.'
' Well, if he founders that mare, I '11 never forgive
him,' added the other, gathering his reins.
And as they turned down from the knoll to rejoin
their comrades, the sun dipped and disappeared, and
the woods fell instantly into the gravity and grey-
ness of the early night.
IN WHICH THE PRINCE PLAYS HAROUN-AL-RASCHID
The night fell upon the Prince while he was thread-
ing green tracks in the lower valleys of the wood ;
and though the stars came out overhead and displayed
the interminable order of the pine-tree pyramids,
regular and dark like cypresses, their light was of
small service to a traveller in such lonely paths, and
from thenceforth he rode at random. The austere
face of nature, the uncertain issue of his course, the
open sky and the free air, delighted him like wine ;
and the hoarse chafing of a river on his left sounded
in his ears agreeably.
It was past eight at night before his toil was
rewarded and he issued at last out of the forest on
the firm white high-road. It lay downhill before
him with a sweeping eastward trend, faintly bright
between the thickets ; and Otto paused and gazed
upon it. So it ran, league after league, still joining
others, to the farthest ends of Europe, there skirting
the sea-surge, here gleaming in the lights of cities ;
and the innumerable army of tramps and travellers
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
moved upon it in all lands as by a common impulse,
and were now in all places drawing near to the inn
door and the night's rest. The pictures swarmed
and vanished in his brain ; a surge of temptation, a
beat of all his blood, went over him, to set spur to
the mare and to go on into the unknown for ever.
And then it passed away ; hunger and fatigue, and
that habit of middling actions which we call common
sense, resumed their empire ; and in that changed
mood his eye lighted upon two bright windows on
his left hand, between the road and river.
He turned off by a by-road, and in a few minutes
he was knocking with his whip on the door of a large
farmhouse, and a chorus of dogs from the farmyard
were making angry answer. A very tall, old, white-
headed man came, shading a candle, at the summons.
He had been of great strength in his time, and of a
handsome countenance ; but now he was fallen
away, his teeth were quite gone, and his voice when
he spoke was broken and falsetto.
' You will pardon me,' said Otto. ' I am a traveller
and have entirely lost my way.'
' Sir,' said the old man, in a very stately, shaky
manner, 'you are at the River Farm, and I am
Killian Gottesheim, at your disposal. We are here,
sir, at about an equal distance from Mittwalden in
Griinewald and Brandenau in Gerolstein : six leagues
to either, and the road excellent ; but there is not a
wine-bush, not a carter's alehouse, anywhere between.
You will have to accept my hospitality for the
night ; rough hospitality, to which I make you freely
welcome ; for, sir,' he added, with a bow, ' it is God
who sends the guest.'
' Amen. And I most heartily thank you,' replied
Otto, bowing in his turn.
'Fritz,' said the old man, turning towards the
interior, 'lead round this gentleman's horse; and
you, sir, condescend to enter.'
Otto entered a chamber occupying the greater
part of the ground-floor of the building. It had
probably once been divided ; for the farther end was
raised by a long step above the nearer, and the
blazing fire and the white supper-table seemed to
stand upon a dais. All around were dark, brass-
mounted cabinets and cupboards ; dark shelves
carrying ancient country crockery ; guns and antlers
and broadside ballads on the wall ; a tall old clock
with roses on the dial ; and down in one corner
the comfortable promise of a wine-barrel. It was
homely, elegant, and quaint.
A powerful youth hurried out to attend on the
grey mare ; and when Mr. Killian Gottesheim had
presented him to his daughter Ottilia, Otto followed
to the stable as became, not perhaps the Prince, but
the good horseman. When he returned, a smoking
omelette and some slices of home-cured ham were
waiting him ; these were followed by a ragout and a
cheese ; and it was not until his guest had entirely
satisfied his hunger, and the whole party drew about
the fire over the wine-jug, that Killian Gottesheim's
elaborate courtesy permitted him to address a ques-
tion to the Prince.
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
' You have perhaps ridden far, sir ? ' he inquired.
' I have, as you say, ridden far,' replied Otto ;
' and, as you have seen, I was prepared to do justice
to your daughter's cookery.'
' Possibly, sir, from the direction of Brandenau ? '
' Precisely : and I should have slept to-night, had
I not wandered, in Mittwalden,' answered the Prince,
weaving in a patch of truth, according to the habit
of all liars.
' Business leads you to Mittwalden ? ' was the next
( Mere curiosity,' said Otto. ' I have never yet
visited the principality of Griinewald.'
' A pleasant state, sir,' piped the old man, nodding,
' a very pleasant state, and a fine race, both pines
and people. We reckon ourselves part Griine-
walders here, lying so near the borders ; and the
river there is all good Griinewald water, every drop
of it. Yes, sir, a fine state. A man of Griinewald
now will swing me an axe over his head that many
a man of Gerolstein could hardly lift ; and the pines,
why, deary me, there must be more pines in that
little state, sir, than people in this whole big world.
Tis twenty years now since I crossed the marshes,
for we grow home-keepers in old age ; but I mind it
as if it was yesterday. Up and down, the road keeps
right on from here to Mittwalden ; and nothing all
the way but the good green pine-trees, big and
little, and water-power ! water-power at every step,
sir. We once sold a bit of forest, up there beside
the high-road ; and the sight of minted money that
we got for it has set me ciphering ever since what
all the pines in Griinewald would amount to.'
* I suppose you see nothing of the Prince ? ' in-
'No,' said the young man, speaking for the first
time, 'nor want to.'
' Why so ? is he so much disliked ? ' asked Otto.
' Not what you might call disliked,' replied the old
gentleman, 'but despised, sir.'
' Indeed,' said the Prince somewhat faintly.
' Yes, sir, despised,' nodded Killian, filling a long
pipe, ' and, to my way of thinking, justly despised.
Here is a man with great opportunities, and what
does he do with them ? He hunts, and he dresses
very prettily — which is a thing to be ashamed of in
a man — and he acts plays ; and if he does aught else,
the news of it has not come here.'
'Yet these are all innocent,' said Otto. 'What
would you have him do — make war ? '
' No, sir,' replied the old man. ' But here it is : I
have been fifty years upon this River Farm, and
wrought in it, day in, day out ; I have ploughed and
sowed and reaped, and risen early, and waked late ;
and this is the upshot : that all these years it has
supported me and my family ; and been the best
friend that ever I had, set aside my wife ; and now,
when my time comes, I leave it a better farm than
when I found it. So it is, if a man works hearty in
the order of nature, he gets bread and he receives
comfort, and whatever he touches breeds. And it
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
humbly appears to me, if that Prince was to labour
on his throne, as I have laboured and wrought in my
farm, he would find both an increase and a blessing.'
' I believe with you, sir,' Otto said ; 'and yet the
parallel is inexact. For the farmer's life is natural
and simple ; but the prince's is both artificial and
complicated. It is easy to do right in the one, and
exceedingly difficult not to do wrong in the other.
If your crop is blighted, you can take off your
bonnet and say, " God's will be done " ; but if the
prince meets with a reverse, he may have to blame
himself for the attempt. And perhaps, if all the
kings in Europe were to confine themselves to
innocent amusement, the subjects would be the
* Ay,' said the young man Fritz, ' you are in the
right of it there. That was a true word spoken.
And I see you are like me, a good patriot and an
enemy to princes.'
Otto was somewhat abashed at this deduction,
and he made haste to change his ground. 'But,'
said he, 'you surprise me by what you say of this
Prince Otto. I have heard him, I must own, more
favourably painted. I was told he was, in his heart,
a good fellow, and the enemy of no one but himself
' And so he is, sir,' said the girl, ' a very handsome,
pleasant prince ; and we know some who would shed
their blood for him.'
' O ! Kuno ! ' said Fritz. ' An ignoramus ! '
' Ay, Kuno, to be sure,' quavered the old farmer.
'■ Well, since this gentleman is a stranger to these
parts, and curious about the Prince, I do believe
that story might divert him. This Kuno, you must
know, sir, is one of the hunt servants, and a most
ignorant, intemperate man : a right Griinewalder, as
we say in Gerolstein. We know him well, in this
house ; for he has come as far as here after his stray
dogs ; and I make all welcome, sir, without account
of state or nation. And indeed, between Gerolstein
and Griinewald the peace has held so long that the
roads stand open like my door ; and a man will
make no more of the frontier than the very birds
' Ay,' said Otto, ' it has been a long peace — a peace
' Centuries, as you say,' returned Killian : * the
more the pity that it should not be for ever. Well,
sir, this Kuno was one day in fault, and Otto, who
has a quick temper, up with his whip and thrashed
him, they do say, soundly. Kuno took it as best he
could, but at last he broke out, and dared the Prince
to throw his whip away and wrestle like a man ; for
we are all great at wrestling in these parts, and it 's
so that we generally settle our disputes. Well, sir,
the Prince did so ; and, being a weakly creature,
found the tables turned ; for the man whom he had
just been thrashing like a negro slave, lifted him
with a back grip and threw him heels overhead.'
' He broke his bridle-arm,' cried Fritz — ' and some
say his nose. Serve him right, say I ! Man to man,
which is the better at that ? '
' And then ? ' asked Otto.
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
' O, then Kuno carried him home ; and they were
the best of friends from that day forth. I don't say
it's a discreditable story, you observe,' continued
Mr. Gottesheim ; ' but it 's droll, and that 's the fact,
A man should think before he strikes ; for, as my
nephew says, man to man was the old valuation.'
' Now, if you were to ask me,' said Otto, ' I should
perhaps surprise you. I think it was the Prince that
* And, sir, you would be right,' replied Killian,
seriously. ' In the eyes of God, I do not question
but you would be right ; but men, sir, look at these
things differently, and they laugh.'
' They made a song of it,' observed Fritz. * How
does it go ? Ta-tum-ta-ra . . .'
' Well,' interrupted Otto, who had no great anxiety
to hear the song, ' the Prince is young ; he may yet
'Not so young, by your leave,' cried Fritz. 'A
man of forty.'
' Thirty-six,' corrected Mr. Gottesheim.
'O,' cried Ottilia, in obvious disillusion, 'a man
of middle age ! And they said he was so handsome
when he was young ! '
' And bald, too,' added Fritz.
Otto passed his hand among his locks. At that
moment he was far from happy, and even the tedious
evenings at Mittwalden Palace began to smile upon
him by comparison.
'O, six-and-thirty ! ' he protested. 'A man is not
yet old at six-and-thirty. I am that age myself.'
' I should have taken you for more, sir,' piped the
old farmer. * But if that be so, you are of an age
with Master Ottekin, as people call him ; and, I
would wager a crown, have done more service in
your time. Though it seems young by comparison
with men of a great age like me, yet it 's some way
through life for all that ; and the mere fools and
fiddlers are beginning to grow weary and to look old.
Yes, sir, by six-and-thirty, if a man be a follower
of God's laws, he should have made himself a home
and a good name to live by ; he should have got a
wife and a blessing on his marriage ; and his works,
as the Word says, should begin to follow him.'
' Ah, well, the Prince is married,' cried Fritz, with
a coarse burst of laughter.
' That seems to entertain you, sir,' said Otto.
' Ay,' said the young boor. ' Did you not know
that ? I thought all Europe knew it ! ' And he
added a pantomime of a nature to explain his accusa-
tion to the dullest.
'Ah, sir,' said Mr. Gottesheim, 'it is very plain
that you are not from hereabouts ! But the truth is,
that the whole princely family and Court are rips
and rascals, not one to mend another. They live,
sir, in idleness and — what most commonly follows it
— corruption. The Princess has a lover; a Baron,
as he calls himself, from East Prussia; and the
Prince is so little of a man, sir, that he holds the
candle. Nor is that the worst of it, for this
foreigner and his paramour are suffered to transact
the State affairs, while the Prince takes the salary
9— b 17
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
and leaves all things to go to wrack. There will
follow upon this some manifest judgment which,
though I am old, I may survive to see.'
' Good man, you are in the wrong about Gondre-
mark,' said Fritz, showing a greatly increased anima-
tion ; ' but for all the rest, you speak the God's truth
like a good patriot. As for the Prince, if he would
take and strangle his wife, I would forgive him yet.'
' Nay, Fritz,' said the old man, ' that would be to
add iniquity to evil. For you perceive, sir,' he con-
tinued, once more addressing himself to the unfortu-
nate Prince, 'this Otto has himself to thank for
these disorders. He has his young wife and his
principality, and he has sworn to cherish both.'
' Sworn at the altar ! ' echoed Fritz. ' But put
your faith in princes ! '
' Well, sir, he leaves them both to an adventurer
from East Prussia,' pursued the farmer; 'leaves
the girl to be seduced and to go on from bad to
worse, till her name 's become a tap-room by-word,
and she not yet twenty ; leaves the country to be
overtaxed, and bullied with armaments, and jockied
into war '
' War ! ' cried Otto.
' So they say, sir ; those that watch their ongoings,
say to war,' asseverated Killian. ' Well, sir, that is
very sad ; it is a sad thing for this poor, wicked girl
to go down to hell with people's curses ; it 's a sad
thing for a tight little happy country to be miscon-
ducted; but whoever may complain, I humbly
conceive, sir, that this Otto cannot. What he has
worked for, that he has got; and may God have
pity on his soul, for a great and a silly sinner's ! '
' He has broke his oath ; then he is a perjurer.
He takes the money and leaves the work; why,
then plainly he 's a thief. A cuckold he was before,
and a fool by birth. Better me that ! ' cried Fritz,
and snapped his fingers.
' And now, sir, you will see a little,' continued the
farmer, ' why we think so poorly of this Prince Otto.
There's such a thing as a man being pious and
honest in the private way ; and there is such a
thing, sir, as a public virtue ; but when a man has
neither, the Lord lighten him ! Even this Gondre-
mark, that Fritz here thinks so much of '
'Ay,' interrupted Fritz, ' Gondremark 's the man
for me. I would we had his like in Gerolstein.'
' He is a bad man,' said the old farmer, shaking
his head ; ' and there was never good begun by the
breach of God's commandments. But so far I will
go with you : he is a man that works for what he
' I tell you he 's the hope of Griinewald,' cried
Fritz. ' He doesn't suit some of your high-and-dry,
old, ancient ideas ; but he 's a downright modern
man — a man of the new lights and the progress of
the age. He does some things wrong ; so they all
do ; but he has the people's interests next his heart ;
and you mark me — you, sir, who are a Liberal, and
the enemy of all their governments, you please to
mark my words — the day will come in Griinewald,
when they take out that yellow-headed skulk of a
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
Prince and that dough-faced Messalina of a Princess,
march 'em back foremost over the borders, and pro-
claim the Baron Gondremark first President. I Ve
heard them say it in a speech. I was at a meeting
once at Brandenau, and the Mittwalden delegates
spoke up for fifteen thousand. Fifteen thousand, all
brigaded, and each man with a medal round his neck
to rally by. That 's all Gondremark.'
' Ay, sir, you see what it leads to : wild talk to-
day, and wilder doings to-morrow,' said the old man.
* For there is one thing certain : that this Gondre-
mark has one foot in the Court backstairs, and the
other in the Masons' lodges. He gives himself out,
sir, for what nowadays they call a patriot : a man
from East Prussia ! '
' Give himself out ! ' cried Fritz. ' He is ! He is
to lay by his title as soon as the Republic is
declared ; I heard it in a speech.'
' Lay by Baron to take up President ? ' returned
Killian. 'King Log, King Stork. But you'll live
longer than I, and you will see the fruits of it.'
' Father,' whispered Ottilia, pulling at the speaker's
coat, ' surely the gentleman is ill.'
6 I beg your pardon,' cried the farmer, re-waking to
hospitable thoughts ; ' can I offer you anything ? '
' I thank you. I am very weary,' answered Otto.
' I have presumed upon my strength. If you would
show me to a bed, I should be grateful.'
' Ottilia, a candle ! ' said the old man. ' Indeed,
sir, you look paley. A little cordial water ? No ?
Then follow me, I beseech you, and I will bring you
to the stranger's bed. You are not the first by many
who has slept well below my roof,' continued the old
gentleman, mounting the stairs before his guest;
' for good food, honest wine, a grateful conscience,
and a little pleasant chat before a man retires, are
worth all the possets and apothecary's drugs. See,
sir,' and here he opened a door and ushered Otto into
a little whitewashed sleeping-room, ' here you are in
port. It is small, but it is airy, and the sheets are
clean and kept in lavender. The window, too, looks
out above the river, and there 's no music like a little
river's. It plays the same tune (and that 's the
favourite) over and over again, and yet does not
weary of it like men fiddlers. It takes the mind out
of doors ; and though we should be grateful for good
houses, there is, after all, no house like God's out-of-
doors. And lastly, sir, it quiets a man down like
saying his prayers. So here, sir, I take my kind
leave of you until to-morrow ; and it is my prayerful
wish that you may slumber like a prince.'
And the old man, with the twentieth courteous
inclination, left his guest alone.
IN WHICH THE PRINCE COMFORTS AGE AND BEAUTY
AND DELIVERS A LECTURE ON DISCRETION IN LOVE
The Prince was early abroad : in the time of the first
chorus of birds, of the pure and quiet air, of the
slanting sunlight and the mile-long shadows. To
one who had passed a miserable night, the freshness
of that hour was tonic and reviving ; to steal a march
upon his slumbering fellows, to be the Adam of the
coming day, composed and fortified his spirits ; and
the Prince, breathing deep and pausing as he went,
walked in the wet fields beside his shadow, and was
A trellised path led down into the valley of the
brook, and he turned to follow it. The stream was
a break-neck, boiling highland river. Hard by the
farm, it leaped a little precipice in a thick grey-
mare's tail of twisted filaments, and then lay and
worked and bubbled in a lynn. Into the middle of
this quaking pool a rock protruded, shelving to a
cape ; and thither Otto scrambled and sat down to
THE PRINCE COMFORTS AGE
Soon the sun struck through the screen of branches
and thin early leaves that made a hanging bower
above the fall ; and the golden lights and flitting
shadows fell upon and marbled the surface of that
seething pot; and rays plunged deep among the
turning waters ; and a spark, as bright as a diamond,
lit upon the swaying eddy. It began to grow warm
where Otto lingered, warm and heady ; the lights
swam, weaving their maze across the shaken pool;
on the impending rock, reflections danced like
butterflies ; and the air was fanned by the waterfall
as by a swinging curtain.
Otto, who was weary with tossing and beset with
horrid phantoms of remorse and jealousy, instantly
fell dead in love with that sun-chequered, echoing
corner. Holding his feet, he stared out of a drowsy
trance, wondering, admiring, musing, losing his way
among uncertain thoughts. There is nothing that
so apes the external bearing of free will as that un-
conscious bustle, obscurely following liquid laws,
with which a river contends among obstructions.
It seems the very play of man and destiny, and as
Otto pored on these recurrent changes, he grew, by
equal steps, the sleepier and the more profound.
Eddy and Prince were alike jostled in their purpose,
alike anchored by intangible influences in one corner
of the world. Eddy and Prince were alike useless,
starkly useless, in the cosmology of men. Eddy and
Prince — Prince and Eddy.
It is probable he had been some while asleep when
a voice recalled him from oblivion. 'Sir,' it was
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
saying; and looking round, he saw Mr. Killian's
daughter, terrified by her boldness and making
bashful signals from the shore. She was a plain,
honest lass, healthy and happy and good, and with
that sort of beauty that comes of happiness and
health. But her confusion lent her for the moment
an additional charm.
* Good-morning,' said Otto, rising and moving
towards her. * I arose early and was in a dream.'
* O, sir ! ' she cried, ' I wish to beg of you to spare
my father ; for I assure your Highness, if he had
known who you was, he would have bitten his
tongue out sooner. And Fritz, too — how he went
on ! But I had a notion ; and this morning I went
straight down into the stable, and there was your
Highness's crown upon the stirrup-irons ! But, O,
sir, I made certain you would spare them ; for they
were as innocent as lambs.'
' My dear,' said Otto, both amused and gratified,
' you do not understand. It is I who am in the
wrong ; for I had no business to conceal my name
and lead on these gentlemen to speak of me. And
it is I who have to beg of you that you will keep
my secret and not betray the discourtesy of which I
was guilty. As for any fear of me, your friends are
safe in Gerolstein ; and even in my own territory,
you must be well aware I have no power.'
* O, sir,' she said, curtseying, ' I would not say
that : the huntsmen would all die for you.'
' Happy Prince ! ' said Otto. ' But although you
are too courteous to avow the knowledge, you have
COMFORTS AGE AND BEAUTY
had many opportunities of learning that I am a vain
show. Only last night we heard it very clearly
stated. You see the shadow flitting on this hard
rock. Prince Otto, I am afraid, is but the moving
shadow, and the name of the rock is Gondremark.
Ah ! if your friends had fallen foul of Gondremark !
But happily the younger of the two admires him.
And as for the old gentleman your father, he is a
wise man and an excellent talker, and I would take
a long wager he is honest.'
* O, Cor honest, your Highness, that he is ! ' ex-
claimed the girl. 'And Fritz is as honest as he.
And as for all they said, it was just talk and non-
sense. When countryfolk get gossiping, they go
on, I do assure you, for the fun ; they don't as much
as think of what they say. If you went to the next
farm, it 's my belief you would hear as much against
'Nay, nay,' said Otto, 'there you go too fast.
For all that was said against Prince Otto '
' O, it was shameful ! ' cried the girl.
'Not shameful — true,' returned Otto. 'O, yes
— true. I am all they said of me — all that and
' I never ! ' cried Ottilia. ' Is that how you do ?
Well, you would never be a soldier. Now, if any
one accuses me, I get up and give it them. O, I
defend myself. I wouldn't take a fault at another
person's hands, no, not if I had it on my forehead.
And that 's what you must do, if you mean to live it
out. But, indeed, I never heard such nonsense. I
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
should think you was ashamed of yourself! You 're
bald then, I suppose ? '
'O, no,' said Otto, fairly laughing. 'There I
acquit myself : not bald 1 '
' Well, and good ? ' pursued the girl. ' Come now,
you know you are good, and I '11 make you say so.
. . . Your Highness, I beg your humble pardon.
But there's no disrespect intended. And anyhow,
you know you are.'
' Why, now, what am I to say ? ' replied Otto.
' You are a cook, and excellently well you do it ;
I embrace the chance of thanking you for the ragout.
Well now, have you not seen good food so bedevilled
by unskilful cookery that no one could be brought to
eat the pudding ? That is me, my dear. I am full
of good ingredients, but the dish is worthless. I am
— I give it you in one word — sugar in the salad.'
' Well, I don't care, you 're good,' reiterated
Ottilia, a little flushed by having failed to under-
' I will tell you one thing,' replied Otto : ' You
are ! '
'Ah, well, that's what they all said of you,'
moralised the girl ; ' such a tongue to come round
— such a flattering tongue ! '
' O, you forget, I am a man of middle age,' the
'Well, to speak to you, I should think you was a
boy ; and Prince or no Prince, if you came worrying
where I was cooking, I would pin a napkin to your
tails. . . . And, O Lord, I declare I hope your High-
COMFORTS AGE AND BEAUTY
ness will forgive me,' the girl added. ' I can't keep
it in my mind.'
'No more can I,' cried Otto. 'That is just what
they complain of ! '
They made a loverly-looking couple ; only the
heavy pouring of that horse-tail of water made them
raise their voices above lovers' pitch. But to a
jealous onlooker from above, their mirth and close
proximity might easily give umbrage ; and a rough
voice out of a tuft of brambles began calling on
Ottilia by name. She changed colour at that. ' It
is Fritz,' she said. ' I must go.'
' Go, my dear, and I need not bid you go in peace,
for I think you have discovered that I am not for-
midable at close quarters,' said the Prince, and made
her a fine gesture of dismissal.
So Ottilia skipped up the bank, and disappeared
into the thicket, stopping once for a single blush-
ing bob — blushing, because she had in the interval
once more forgotten and remembered the stranger's
Otto returned to his rock promontory ; but his
humour had in the meantime changed. The sun
now shone more fairly on the pool ; and over its
brown, welling surface, the blue of heaven and the
golden green of the spring foliage danced in fleeting
arabesque. The eddies laughed and brightened with
essential colour. And the beauty of the dell began
to rankle in the Prince's mind ; it was so near to his
own borders, yet without. He had never had much
of the joy of possessorship in any of the thousand
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
and one beautiful and curious things that were his ;
and now he was conscious of envy for what was
another's. It was, indeed, a smiling, dilettante sort
of envy ; but yet there it was : the passion of Ahab
for the vineyard, done in little ; and he was relieved
when Mr. Killian appeared upon the scene.
' I hope, sir, that you have slept well under my
plain roof,' said the old farmer.
' I am admiring this sweet spot that you are privi-
leged to dwell in,' replied Otto, evading the inquiry.
'It is rustic,' returned Mr. Gottesheim, looking
around him with complacency, ' a very rustic corner ;
and some of the land to the west is most excellent
fat land, excellent deep soil. You should see my
wheat in the ten-acre field. There is not a farm in
Griinewald, no, nor many in Gerolstein, to match
the River Farm. Some sixty — I keep thinking when
I sow- — some sixty, and some seventy, and some an
hundredfold ; and my own place, six score ! But
that, sir, is partly the farming.'
' And the stream has fish ? ' asked Otto.
'A fish-pond,' said the farmer. 'Ay, it is a
pleasant bit. It is pleasant even here, if one had
time, with the brook drumming in that black pool,
and the green things hanging all about the rocks,
and, dear heart, to see the very pebbles ! all turned
to gold and precious stones ! But you have come to
that time of life, sir, when, if you will excuse me,
you must look to have the rheumatism set in.
Thirty to forty is, as one may say, their seed-time.
And this is a damp cold corner for the early morn-
COMFORTS AGE AND BEAUTY
ing and an empty stomach. If I might humbly
advise you, sir, I would be moving.'
' With all my heart,' said Otto gravely. ' And
so you have lived your life here ? ' he added, as they
turned to go.
* Here I was born,' replied the farmer, ' and here
I wish I could say I was to die. But fortune, sir,
fortune turns the wheel. They say she is blind, but
we will hope she only sees a little farther on. My
grandfather and my father and I, we have all tilled
these acres, my furrow following theirs. All the
three names are on the garden bench, two Killians
and one Johann. Yes, sir, good men have prepared
themselves for the great change in my old garden.
Well do I mind my father, in a woollen night-cap,
the good soul, going round and round to see the
last of it. " Killian," said he, "do you see the
smoke of my tobacco ? Why," said he, " that is
man's life." It was his last pipe, and I believe he
knew it ; and it was a strange thing, without doubt,
to leave the trees that he had planted, and the son
that he had begotten, ay, sir, and even the old pipe
with the Turk's head that he had smoked since he
was a lad and went a-courting. But here we have
no continuing city ; and as for the eternal, it 's a
comfortable thought that we have other merits than
our own. And yet you would hardly think how
sore it goes against the grain with me, to die in a
* And must you do so ? For what reason ? ' Otto
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
' The reason ? The place is to be sold : three
thousand crowns,' replied Mr. Gottesheim. ' Had it
been a third of that, I may say without boasting
that, what with my credit and my savings, I could
have met the sum. But at three thousand, unless I
have singular good fortune and the new proprietor
continues me in office, there is nothing left me but
Otto's fancy for the place redoubled at the news,
and became joined with other feelings. If all he
heard were true, Griinewald was growing very hot
for a sovereign Prince ; it might be well to have a
refuge; and if so, what more delightful hermitage
could man imagine ? Mr. Gottesheim, besides, had
touched his sympathies. Every man loves in his soul
to play the part of the stage deity. And to step
down to the aid of the old farmer, who had so
roughly handled him in talk, was the ideal of a Fair
Revenge. Otto's thoughts brightened at the pro-
spect, and he began to regard himself with a renewed
* I can find you, I believe, a purchaser,' he said,
'and one who would continue to avail himself of
' Can you, sir, indeed ? ' said the old man. ' Well,
I shall be heartily obliged ; for I begin to find a man
may practise resignation all his days, as he takes
physic, and not come to like it in the end.'
'If you will have the papers drawn you may even
burthen the purchase with your interest,' said Otto.
' Let it be assured to you through life.'
COMFORTS AGE AND BEAUTY
' Your friend, sir,' insinuated Killian, ' would not,
perhaps, care to make the interest reversible ? Fritz
is a good lad.'
' Fritz is young,' said the Prince dryly ; ' he must
earn consideration, not inherit.'
' He has long worked upon the place, sir,' insisted
Mr. Gottesheim ; ' and at my great age, for I am
seventy-eight come harvest, it would be a trouble-
some thought to the proprietor how to fill my shoes.
It would be a care spared to assure yourself of Fritz.
And I believe he might be tempted by a per-
'The young man has unsettled views,' returned
' Possibly the purchaser ' began Killian.
A little spot of anger burned in Otto's cheek. ' I
am the purchaser,' he said.
' It was what I might have guessed,' replied the
farmer, bowing with an aged, obsequious dignity.
'You have made an old man very happy; and I
may say, indeed, that I have entertained an angel
unawares. Sir, the great people of this world — and
by that I mean those who are great in station — if
they had only hearts like yours, how they would
make the fires burn and the poor sing ! '
'I would not judge them hardly, sir,' said Otto.
'We all have our frailties.'
'Truly, sir,' said Mr. Gottesheim, with unction.
'And by what name, sir, am I to address my
generous landlord ? '
The double recollection of an English traveller,
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
whom he had received the week before at court, and
of an old English rogue called Transome, whom
he had known in youth, came pertinently to the
Prince's help. 'Transome,' he answered, 'is my
name. I am an English traveller. It is, to-day,
Tuesday. On Thursday, before noon, the money
shall be ready. Let us meet, if you please, in Mitt-
walden, at the "Morning Star."'
' I am, in all things lawful, your servant to com-
mand,' replied the farmer. ' An Englishman ! You
are a great race of travellers. And has your lordship
some experience of land ? '
'I have had some interest of the kind before,'
returned the Prince ; ' not in Gerolstein, indeed.
But fortune, as you say, turns the wheel, and I
desire to be beforehand with her revolutions.'
'Very right, sir, I am sure,' said Mr. Killian.
They had been strolling with deliberation ; but
they were now drawing near to the farmhouse,
mounting by the trellised pathway to the level of
the meadow. A little before them, the sound of
voices had been some while audible, and now grew
louder and more distinct with every step of their
advance. Presently, when they emerged upon the
top of the bank, they beheld Fritz and Ottilia some
way off; he, very black and bloodshot, emphasizing
his hoarse speech with the smacking of his fist
against his palm ; she, standing a little way off in
blowsy, voluble distress.
' Dear me ! ' said Mr. Gottesheim, and made as if
he would turn aside.
COMFORTS AGE AND BEAUTY
But Otto went straight towards the lovers, in
whose dissension he believed himself to have a share.
And, indeed, as soon as he had seen the Prince,
Fritz had stood tragic, as if awaiting and defying his
' O, here you are ! ' he cried, as soon as they were
near enough for easy speech. 'You are a man
at least, and must reply. What were you after?
Why were you two skulking in the bush ? God ! '
he broke out, turning again upon Ottilia, ' to think
that I should waste my heart on you ! '
' I beg your pardon,' Otto cut in. ' You were
addressing me. In virtue of what circumstance am
I to render you an account of this young lady's
conduct ? Are you her father ? her brother ? her
husband ? '
'O, sir, you know as well as I,' returned the
peasant. 'We keep company, she and I. I love
her, and she is by way of loving me ; but all shall be
above-board, I would have her to know. I have a
good pride of my own.'
' Why, I perceive I must explain to you what
love is,' said Otto. ' Its measure is kindness. It is
very possible that you are proud ; but she, too, may
have some self-esteem ; I do not speak for myself.
And perhaps, if your own doings were so curi-
ously examined, you might find it inconvenient to
'These are all set-offs,' said the young man.
' You know very well that a man is a man, and a
woman only a woman. That holds good all over,
9— c 33
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
up and down. I ask you a question, I ask it again,
and here I stand.' He drew a mark and toed it.
' When you have studied liberal doctrines some-
what deeper,' said the Prince, 'you will perhaps
change your note. You are a man of false weights
and measures, my young friend. You have one
scale for women, another for men ; one for princes,
and one for farmer-folk. On the prince who neglects
his wife you can be most severe. But what of the
lover who insults his mistress ? You use the name
of love. I should think this lady might very fairly
ask to be delivered from love of such a nature. For
if I, a stranger, had been one-tenth part so gross and
so discourteous, you would most righteously have
broke my head. It would have been in your part,
as lover, to protect her from such insolence. Pro-
tect her first, then, from yourself.'
' Ay,' quoth Mr. Gottesheim, who had been look-
ing on with his hands behind his tall old back, ' ay,
that's Scripture truth.'
Fritz was staggered, not only by the Prince's
imperturbable superiority of manner, but by a glim-
mering consciousness that he himself was in the
wrong. The appeal to liberal doctrines had, besides,
' Well,' said he, ' if I was rude, I '11 own to it. I
meant no ill, and did nothing out of my just rights ;
but I am above all these old vulgar notions too ; and
if I spoke sharp, I '11 ask her pardon.'
* Freely granted, Fritz,' said Ottilia.
' But all this doesn't answer me,' cried Fritz. * I
COMFORTS AGE AND BEAUTY
ask what you two spoke about. She says she pro-
mised not to tell ; well, then, I mean to know.
Civility is civility ; but I '11 be no man's gull. I
have a right to common justice, if I do keep
company ! '
'If you will ask Mr. Gottesheim,' replied Otto,
' you will find I have not spent my hours in idleness.
I have, since I arose this morning, agreed to buy
the farm. So far I will go to satisfy a curiosity
which I condemn.'
'O, well, if there was business, that's another
matter,' returned Fritz. ' Though it beats me why
you could not tell. But, of course, if the gentleman
is to buy the farm, I suppose there would naturally
be an end.'
'To be sure,' said Mr. Gottesheim, with a strong
accent of conviction.
But Ottilia was much braver. 'There now ! ' she
cried in triumph. ' What did I tell you ? I told
you I was fighting your battles. Now you see !
Think shame of your suspicious temper ! You
should go down upon your bended knees both to
that gentleman and me.'
IN WHICH THE PRINCE COLLECTS OPINIONS
BY THE WAY
A little before noon, Otto, by a triumph of
manoeuvring, effected his escape. He was quit in
this way of the ponderous gratitude of Mr. Killian,
and of the confidential gratitude of poor Ottilia ;
but of Fritz he was not quit so readily. That young
politician, brimming with mysterious glances, offered
to lend his convoy as far as to the high-road ; and
Otto, in fear of some residuary jealousy, and for the
girl's sake, had not the courage to gainsay him ; but
he regarded his companion with uneasy glances, and
devoutly wished the business at an end. For some
time Fritz walked by the mare in silence ; and they
had already traversed more than half the proposed
distance when, with something of a blush, he looked
up and opened fire.
' Are you not,' he asked, ' what they call a
socialist ? '
' Why, no,' returned Otto, ' not precisely what
they call so. Why do you ask ? '
THE PRINCE COLLECTS OPINIONS
* I will tell you why,' said the young man. * I
saw from the first that you were a red progressional,
and nothing but the fear of old Killian kept you back.
And there, sir, you were right : old men are always
cowards. But nowadays, you see, there are so many
groups : you can never tell how far the likeliest
kind of man may be prepared to go ; and I was
never sure you were one of the strong thinkers, till
you hinted about women and free love.'
' Indeed ! ' cried Otto, * I never said a word of such
■ Not you ! ' cried Fritz. * Never a word to com-
promise ! You was sowing seed : ground-bait, our
president calls it. But it 's hard to deceive me, for I
know all the agitators and their ways, and all the
doctrines ; and between you and me,' lowering his
voice, ' I am myself affiliated. O yes, I am a secret
society man, and here is my medal.' And drawing
out a green ribbon that he wore about his neck, he
held up, for Otto's inspection, a pewter medal bear-
ing the imprint of a Phoenix and the legend
Libertas. ' And so now you see you may trust me,'
added Fritz. * I am none of your ale-house talkers ;
I am a convinced revolutionary.' And he looked
meltingly upon Otto.
* I see,' replied the Prince ; ' that is very gratify-
ing. Well, sir, the great thing for the good of one's
country is, first of all, to be a good man. All
springs from there. For my part, although you are
right in thinking that I have to do with politics, I
am unfit by intellect and temper for a leading role.
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
I was intended, I fear, for a subaltern. Yet we
have all something to command, Mr. Fritz, if it be
only our own temper ; and a man about to marry
must look closely to himself. The husband's, like
the prince's, is a very artificial standing ; and it is
hard to be kind in either. Do you follow that ? '
'O yes, I follow that,' replied the young man,
sadly chop-fallen over the nature of the information
he had elicited ; and then brightening up : 'Is it,'
he ventured, 'is it for an arsenal that you have
bought the farm ? '
' We '11 see about that,' the Prince answered,
laughing. ' You must not be too zealous. And in
the meantime, if I were you, I would say nothing on
' O, trust me, sir, for that,' cried Fritz, as he
pocketed a crown. ' And you 've let nothing out ;
for I suspected — I might say I knew it — from the
first. And mind you, when a guide is required,' he
added, ' I know all the forest paths. '
Otto rode away, chuckling. This talk with Fritz
had vastly entertained him ; nor was he altogether
discontented with his bearing at the farm ; men, he
was able to tell himself, had behaved worse under
smaller provocation. And, to harmonise all, the
road and the April air were both delightful to his
Up and down, and to and fro, ever mounting
through the wooded foot-hills, the broad, white high-
road wound onward into Grunewald. On either
hand the pines stood coolly rooted — green moss
prospering, springs welling forth between their
knuckled spurs ; and though some were broad and
stalwart, and others spiry and slender, yet all stood
firm in the same attitude and with the same expres-
sion, like a silent army presenting arms.
The road lay all the way apart from towns and
villages, which it left on either hand. Here and
there, indeed, in the bottom of green glens, the
Prince could spy a few congregated roofs, or perhaps
above him, on a shoulder, the solitary cabin of a
woodman. But the highway was an international
undertaking, and with its face set for distant cities,
scorned the little life of Griinewald. Hence it was
exceeding solitary. Near the frontier Otto met a
detachment of his own troops marching in the hot
dust; and he was recognised and somewhat feebly
cheered as he rode by. But from that time forth
and for a long while he was alone with the great
Gradually the spell of pleasure relaxed ; his own
thoughts returned, like stinging insects, in a cloud ;
and the talk of the night before, like a shower of
buffets, fell upon his memory. He looked east and
west for any comforter ; and presently he was aware
of a cross-road coming steeply down hill, and a
horseman cautiously descending. A human voice
or presence, like a spring in the desert, was now
welcome in itself, and Otto drew bridle to await the
coming of this stranger. He proved to be a very
red-faced, thick-lipped countryman, with a pair of
fat saddle-bags and a stone bottle at his waist ; who,
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
as soon as the Prince hailed him, jovially, if some-
what thickly, answered. At the same time he gave
a beery yaw in the saddle. It was clear his bottle
was no longer full.
' Do you ride towards Mittwalden ? ' asked the
'As far as the cross-road to Tannenbrunn,' the
man replied. ' Will you bear company ? '
' With pleasure. I have even waited for you on
the chance,' answered Otto.
By this time they were close alongside ; and the
man, with the country-folk instinct, turned his cloudy
vision first of all on his companion's mount. ' The
devil ! ' he cried. ' You ride a bonny mare, friend ! '
And then his curiosity being satisfied about the
essential, he turned his attention to that merely
secondary matter, his companion's face. He started.
' The Prince ! ' he cried, saluting, with another yaw
that came near dismounting him. ' I beg your
pardon, your Highness, not to have reco'nised you
The Prince was vexed out of his self-possession.
' Since you know me,' he said, ' it is unnecessary we
should ride together. I will precede you, if you
please.' And he was about to set spur to the grey
mare, when the half-drunken fellow, reaching over,
laid his hand upon the rein.
'Hark you,' he said, 'prince or no prince, that is
not how one man should conduct himself with
another. What ! You '11 ride with me incog, and
set me talking ! But if I know you, you 11 preshede
me, if you please ! Spy ! ' And the fellow, crim-
son with drink and injured vanity, almost spat the
word into the Prince's face.
A horrid confusion came over Otto. He per-
ceived that he had acted rudely, grossly presuming
on his station. And perhaps a little shiver of
physical alarm mingled with his remorse, for the
fellow was very powerful, and not more than half in
the possession of his senses. ' Take your hand from
my rein,' he said, with a sufficient assumption of
command ; and when the man, rather to his wonder,
had obeyed : 'You should understand, sir,' he added,
' that while I might be glad to ride with you as one
person of sagacity with another, and so receive your
true opinions, it would amuse me very little to hear
the empty compliments you would address to me as
* You think I would lie, do you ? ' cried the man
with the bottle, purpling deeper.
' I know you would,' returned Otto, entering
entirely into his self-possession. 'You would not
even show me the medal you wear about your neck.'
For he had caught a glimpse of a green ribbon at
the fellow's throat.
The change was instantaneous : the red face
became mottled with yellow ; a thick-fingered,
tottering hand made a clutch at the tell-tale ribbon.
' Medal ! ' the man cried, wonderfully sobered. ' I
have no medal.'
' Pardon me,' said the Prince. ' I will even tell
you what that medal bears : a Phoenix burning,
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
with the word Libertas.' The medallist remaining
speechless, 'You are a pretty fellow,' continued
Otto, smiling, 'to complain of incivility from the
man whom you conspire to murder.'
' Murder ! ' protested the man. ' Nay, never that ;
nothing criminal for me ! '
'You are strangely misinformed,' said Otto.
' Conspiracy itself is criminal, and ensures the pain
of death. Nay, sir, death it is ; I will guarantee my
accuracy. Not that you need be so deplorably
affected, for I am no officer. But those who mingle
with politics should look at both sides of the medal.'
'Your Highness . . .'began the knight of the
' Nonsense ! you are a Republican,' cried Otto ;
' what have you to do with highnesses ? But let us
continue to ride forward. Since you so much desire
it, I cannot find it in my heart to deprive you of my
company. And for that matter, I have a question
to address to you. Why, being so great a body of
men — for you are a great body — fifteen thousand, I
have heard, but that will be understated ; am I
right ? '
The man gurgled in his throat.
'Why, then, being so considerable a party,' re-
sumed Otto, ' do you not come before me boldly
with your wants ? — what do I say ? with your com-
mands ? Have I the name of being passionately
devoted to my throne ? I can scarce suppose it.
Come, then ; show me your majority, and I will
instantly resign. Tell this to your friends ; assure
them from me of my docility ; assure them that,
however they conceive of my deficiencies, they
cannot suppose me more unfit to be a ruler than I
do myself. I am one of the worst princes in
Europe ; will they improve on that ? '
' Far be it from me . . .' the man began.
' See, now, if you will not defend my government !'
cried Otto. ' If I were you, I would leave con-
spiracies. You are as little fit to be a conspirator
as I to be a king.'
* One thing I will say out,' said the man. ' It is
not so much you that we complain of, it's your
' Not a word, sir,' said the Prince ; and then after
a moment's pause, and in tones of some anger and
contempt : * I once more advise you to have done
with politics,' he added ; ' and when next I see you,
let me see you sober. A morning drunkard is the
last man to sit on judgment even upon the worst
of princes. '
' I have had a drop, but I had not been drinking,'
the man replied, triumphing in a sound distinction.
' And if I had, what then ? Nobody hangs by me.
But my mill is standing idle, and I blame it on
your wife. Am I alone in that? Go round and
ask. Where are the mills ? Where are the young
men that should be working ? Where is the cur-
rency ? All paralysed. No, sir, it is not equal ;
for I suffer for your faults — I pay for them, by
George, out of a poor man's pocket. And what
have you to do with mine ? Drunk or sober, I can
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
see my country going to hell, and I can see whose
fault it is. And so now, I 've said my say, and you
may drag me to a stinking dungeon ; what care I ?
I 've spoke the truth, and so 1 11 hold hard, and not
intrude upon your Highness's society.'
And the miller reined up and, clumsily enough,
' You will observe, I have not asked your name,'
said Otto. ' I wish you a good ride,' and he rode
on hard. But let him ride as he pleased, this in-
terview with the miller was a chokepear, which he
could not swallow. He had begun by receiving a
reproof in manners, and ended by sustaining a defeat
in logic, both from a man whom he despised. All
his old thoughts returned with fresher venom. And
by three in the afternoon, coming to the cross-roads
for Beckstein, Otto decided to turn aside and dine
there leisurely. Nothing at least could be worse
than to go on as he was going.
In the inn at Beckstein he remarked, immediately
upon his entrance, an intelligent young gentleman
dining, with a book in front of him. He had his
own place laid close to the reader, and with a proper
apology, broke ground by asking what he read.
' I am perusing,' answered the young gentleman,
' the last work of the Herr Doctor Hohenstockwitz,
cousin and librarian of your Prince here in Griine-
wald — a man of great erudition and some lambencies
' I am acquainted,' said Otto, ' with the Herr
Doctor, though not yet with his work.'
* Two privileges that I must envy you,' replied the
young man politely : ' an honour in hand, a pleasure
in the bush.'
' The Herr Doctor is a man much respected, I
believe, for his attainments ? ' asked the Prince.
* He is, sir, a remarkable instance of the force of
intellect,' replied the reader. 'Who of our young
men know anything of his cousin, all-reigning Prince
although he be ? Who but has heard of Doctor
Gotthold ? But intellectual merit, alone of all dis-
tinctions, has its base in nature.'
' I have the gratification of addressing a student —
perhaps an author ? ' Otto suggested.
The young man somewhat flushed. ' I have some
claim to both distinctions, sir, as you suppose,' said
he ; ' there is my card. I am the licentiate Roederer,
author of several works on the theory and practice
' You immensely interest me,' said the Prince ;
' the more so as I gather that here in Grunewald we
are on the brink of revolution. Pray, since these
have been your special studies, would you augur
hopefully of such a movement ? '
' I perceive,' said the young author, with a certain
vinegary twitch, ' that you are unacquainted with
my opuscula. I am a convinced authoritarian. I
share none of those illusory, Utopian fancies with
which empirics blind themselves and exasperate the
ignorant. The day of these ideas is, believe me,
past, or at least passing.'
' When I look about me ' began Otto.
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
'When you look about you,' interrupted the
licentiate, ' you behold the ignorant. But in the
laboratory of opinion, beside the studious lamp, we
begin already to discard these figments. We begin
to return to nature's order, to what I might call, if
I were to borrow from the language of therapeutics,
the expectant treatment of abuses. You will not
misunderstand me,' he continued : ' a country in the
condition in which we find Grunewald, a prince such
as your Prince Otto, we must explicitly condemn ;
they are behind the age. But I would look for a
remedy not to brute convulsions, but to the natural
supervenience of a more able sovereign. I should
amuse you, perhaps,' added the licentiate, with a
smile, ' I think I should amuse you if I were to
explain my notion of a prince. We who have
studied in the closet, no longer, in this age, propose
ourselves for active service. The paths, we have
perceived, are incompatible. I would not have a
student on the throne, though I would have one
near by for an adviser. I would set forward as
prince a man of a good, medium understanding,
lively rather than deep ; a man of courtly manner,
possessed of the double art to ingratiate and to
command ; receptive, accommodating, seductive. I
have been observing you since your first entrance.
Well, sir, were I a subject of Grunewald I should
pray heaven to set upon the seat of government just
such another as yourself.'
* The devil you would ! ' exclaimed the Prince.
The licentiate Roederer laughed most heartily.
* I thought I should astonish you,' he said. ' These
are not the ideas of the masses.'
* They are not, I can assure you,' Otto said.
* Or rather,' distinguished the licentiate, ' not to-
day. The time will come, however, when these
ideas shall prevail.'
* You will permit me, sir, to doubt it,' said Otto.
* Modesty is always admirable,' chuckled the
theorist. ' But yet I assure you, a man like you,
with such a man as, say, Doctor Gotthold at your
elbow, would be, for all practical issues, my ideal
At this rate the hours sped pleasantly for Otto.
But the licentiate unfortunately slept that night at
Beckstein, where he was, being dainty in the saddle
and given to half stages. And to find a convoy to
Mittwalden, and thus mitigate the company of his
own thoughts, the Prince had to make favour with
a certain party of wood merchants from various states
of the empire, who had been drinking together some-
what noisily at the far end of the apartment.
The night had already fallen when they took the
saddle. The merchants were very loud and mirth-
ful ; each had a face like a nor' west moon ; and they
played pranks with each others' horses, and mingled
songs and choruses, and alternately remembered and
forgot the companion of their ride. Otto thus com-
bined society and solitude, hearkening now to their
chattering and empty talk, now to the voices of the
encircling forest. The starlit dark, the faint wood
airs, the clank of the horse-shoes making broken
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
music, accorded together and attuned his mind.
And he was still in a most equal temper when the
party reached the top of that long hill that overlooks
Down in the bottom of a bowl of forest, the lights
of the little formal town glittered in a pattern, street
crossing street ; away by itself on the right, the
palace was glowing like a factory.
Although he knew not Otto, one of the wood
merchants was a native of the state. ' There,' said
he, pointing to the palace with his whip, 'there is
' What, do you call it that? ' cried another, laughing.
' Ay, that 's what they call it,' returned the Griine-
walder ; and he broke into a song, which the rest,
as people well acquainted with the words and air,
instantly took up in chorus. Her Serene Highness
Amalia Seraphina, Princess of Griinewald, was the
heroine, Gondremark the hero of this ballad. Shame
hissed in Otto's ears. He reined up short and sat
stunned in the saddle ; and the singers continued to
descend the hill without him.
The song went to a rough, swashing, popular air ;
and long after the words became inaudible the swing
of the music, rising and falling, echoed insult in the
Prince's brain. He fled the sounds. Hard by him
on his right a road struck towards the palace, and
he followed it through the thick shadows and branch-
ing alleys of the park. It was a busy place on a
fine summer's afternoon, when the court and burghers
met and saluted ; but at that hour of the night in
the early spring it was deserted to the roosting birds.
Hares rustled among the covert ; here and there a
statue stood glimmering, with its eternal gesture ;
here and there the echo of an imitation temple
clattered ghostly to the trampling of the mare. Ten
minutes brought him to the upper end of his own
home garden, where the small stables opened, over a
bridge, upon the park. The yard clock was striking
the hour of ten ; so was the big bell in the palace
bell-tower ; and, farther off, the belfries of the town.
About the stable all else was silent but the stamping
of stalled horses and the rattle of halters. Otto
dismounted ; and as he did so a memory came back
to him : a whisper of dishonest grooms and stolen
corn, once heard, long forgotten, and now recurring
in the nick of opportunity. He crossed the bridge,
and, going up to a window, knocked six or seven
heavy blows in a particular cadence, and, as he did
so, smiled. Presently a wicket was opened in the
gate, and a man's head appeared in the dim starlight.
* Nothing to-night,' said a voice.
' Bring a lantern,' said the Prince.
' Dear heart a' mercy ! ' cried the groom. * Who 's
that ? '
' It is I, the Prince,' replied Otto. ' Bring a lan-
tern, take in the mare, and let me through into the
The man remained silent for a while, his head still
projecting through the wicket.
'*■ His Highness ! ' he said at last. * And why did
your Highness knock so strange ? '
9— d 49
IN WHICH THE PRINCE
'It is a superstition in Mittwalden,' answered
Otto, ' that it cheapens corn.'
With a sound like a sob the groom fled. He was
very white when he returned, even by the light of
the lantern ; and his hand trembled as he undid the
fastenings and took the mare.
' Your Highness,' he began at last, ' for God's
sake . . .' And there he paused, oppressed with
' For God's sake, what ? ' asked Otto cheerfully.
' For God's sake let us have cheaper corn, say I.
Good-night ! ' And he strode off into the garden,
leaving the groom petrified once more.
The garden descended by a succession of stone
terraces to the level of the fish-pond. On the far
side the ground rose again, and was crowned by the
confused roofs and gables of the palace. The
modern pillared front, the ball-room, the great library,
the princely apartments, the busy and illuminated
quarters of that great house, all faced the town.
The garden side was much older ; and here it was
almost dark ; only a few windows quietly lighted
at various elevations. The great square tower rose
thinning by stages like a telescope ; and on the top
of all the flag hung motionless.
The garden, as it now lay in the dusk and glimmer
of the starshine, breathed of April violets. Under
night's cavern arch the shrubs obscurely bustled.
Through the plotted terraces and down the marble
stairs the Prince rapidly descended, fleeing before
uncomfortable thoughts. But, alas ! from these
there is no city of refuge. And now, when he was
about midway of the descent, distant strains of
music began to fall upon his ear from the ball-room,
where the court was dancing. They reached him
faint and broken, but they touched the keys of
memory ; and through and above them, Otto heard
the ranting melody of the wood-merchants' song.
Mere blackness seized upon his mind. Here he was
coming home ; the wife was dancing, the husband
had been playing a trick upon a lackey ; and mean-
while, all about them, they were a by-word to their
subjects. Such a prince, such a husband, such a
man, as this Otto had become ! And he sped the
Some way below he came unexpectedly upon a
sentry ; yet a little farther, and he was challenged
by a second ; and as he crossed the bridge over the
fish-pond an officer making the rounds stopped him
once more. The parade of watch was more than
usual ; but curiosity was dead in Otto's mind, and
he only chafed at the interruption. The porter of
the back postern admitted him, and started to be-
hold him so disordered. Thence, hasting by private
stairs and passages, he came at length unseen to his
own chamber, tore off his clothes, and threw himself
upon his bed in the dark. The music of the ball-
room still continued to a very lively measure ; and
still, behind that, he heard in spirit the chorus of the
merchants clanking down the hill.
OF LOVE AND POLITICS
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE LIBRARY
At a quarter before six on the following morning
Doctor Gotthold was already at his desk in the
library ; and with a small cup of black coffee at his
elbow, and an eye occasionally wandering to the
busts and the long array of many-coloured books,
was quietly reviewing the labours of the day before.
He was a man of about forty, flaxen-haired, with
refined features a little worn, and bright eyes some-
what faded. Early to bed and early to rise, his life
was devoted to two things : erudition and Rhine
wine. An ancient friendship existed latent between
him and Otto ; they rarely met, but when they did
it was to take up at once the thread of their sus-
pended intimacy. Gotthold, the virgin priest of
knowledge, had envied his cousin, for half a day,
when he was married ; he had never envied him his
Reading was not a popular diversion at the court
of Griinewald ; and that great, pleasant, sunshiny
gallery of books and statues was, in practice, Gott-
hold's private cabinet. On this particular Wednes-
day morning, however, he had not been long about
his manuscript when a door opened and the Prince
stepped into the apartment. The doctor watched
him as he drew near, receiving, from each of the
embayed windows in succession, a flush of morning
sun ; and Otto looked so gay, and walked so airily,
he was so well dressed and brushed and frizzled, so
point-device, and of such a sovereign elegance, that
the heart of his cousin the recluse was rather moved
'Good-morning, Gotthold,' said Otto, dropping
in a chair.
' Good-morning, Otto,' returned the librarian.
' You are an early bird. Is this an accident, or do
you begin reforming ? '
' It is about time, I fancy,' answered the Prince.
' I cannot imagine,' said the Doctor. ' I am too
sceptical to be an ethical adviser ; and as for good
resolutions, I believed in them when I was young.
They are the colours of hope's rainbow.'
' If you come to think of it,' said Otto, ' I am not
a popular sovereign.' And with a look he changed
his statement to a question.
' Popular ? Well, there I would distinguish,'
answered Gotthold, leaning back and joining the
tips of his fingers. ' There are various kinds of
popularity : the bookish, which is perfectly imper-
sonal, as unreal as the nightmare ; the politician's, a
mixed variety ; and yours, which is the most per-
sonal of all. Women take to you ; footmen adore
IN THE LIBRARY
you ; it is as natural to like you as to pat a dog ;
and were you a saw-miller you would be the most
popular citizen in Griinewald. As a prince — well,
you are in the wrong trade. It is perhaps philoso-
phical to recognise it as you do.'
' Perhaps philosophical ? ' repeated Otto.
1 Yes, perhaps. I would not be dogmatic,' answered
* Perhaps philosophical, and certainly not virtuous,'
'Not of a Roman virtue,' chuckled the re-
Otto drew his chair nearer to the table, leaned
upon it with his elbow, and looked his cousin
squarely in the face. 'In short,' he asked, 'not
manly ? '
'Well,' Gotthold hesitated, 'not manly, if you
will.' And then, with a laugh, 'I did not know
that you gave yourself out to be manly,' he added.
'It was one of the points that I inclined to like
about you ; inclined, I believe, to admire. The
names of virtues exercise a charm on most of us ;
we must lay claim to all of them, however incom-
patible ; we must all be both daring and prudent ;
we must all vaunt our pride and go to the stake for
our humility. Not so you. Without compromise
you were yourself: a pretty sight. I have always
said it : none so void of all pretence as Otto.'
' Pretence and effort both ! ' cried Otto. ' A dead
dog in a canal is more alive. And the question,
Gotthold, the question that I have to face is this :
Can I not, with effort and self-denial, can I not
become a tolerable sovereign ? '
' Never,' replied Gotthold. ' Dismiss the notion.
And besides, dear child, you would not try.'
' Nay, Gotthold, I am not to be put by,' said Otto.
'■■If I am constitutionally unfit to be a sovereign,
what am I doing with this money, with this palace,
with these guards ? And I — a thief — am to execute
the law on others ? '
' I admit the difficulty,' said Gotthold.
' Well, can I not try ? ' continued Otto. ' Am I
not bound to try ? And with the advice and help of
such a man as you -'
' Me ! ' cried the librarian. ' Now, God forbid ! '
Otto, though he was in no very smiling humour,
could not forbear to smile. 'Yet I was told last
night,' he laughed, 'that with a man like me to
impersonate, and a man like you to touch the
springs, a very possible government could be com-
' Now I wonder in what diseased imagination,'
Gotthold said, 'that preposterous monster saw the
light of day ? '
' It was one of your own trade — a writer : one
Roederer,' said Otto.
' Roederer! an ignorant puppy!' cried the librarian.
'You are ungrateful,' said Otto. 'He is one of
your professed admirers.'
'Is he ? ' cried Gotthold, obviously impressed.
' Come, that is a good account of the young man.
I must read his stuff again. It is the rather to his
IN THE LIBRARY
credit, as our views are opposite. The east and west
are not more opposite. Can I have converted him ?
But no ; the incident belongs to Fairyland.'
' You are not then,' asked the Prince, * an authori-
tarian ? '
' I ? God bless me, no ! ' said Gotthold. ' I am a
red, dear child.'
* That brings me then to my next point, and by a
natural transition. If I am so clearly unfitted for
my post,' the Prince asked : ' If my friends admit it,
if my subjects clamour for my downfall, if revolution
is preparing at this hour, must I not go forth to meet
the inevitable ? should I not save these horrors and
be done with these absurdities ? in a word, should I
not abdicate? O, believe me, I feel the ridicule,
the vast abuse of language,' he added, wincing, 'but
even a principulus like me cannot resign ; he must
make a great gesture, and come buskined forth, and
'Ay,' said Gotthold, 'or else stay where he is.
What gnat has bitten you to-day ? Do you not
know that you are touching, with lay hands, the
very holiest inwards of philosophy, where madness
dwells ? Ay, Otto, madness ; for in the serene
temples of the wise, the inmost shrine, which we
carefully keep locked, is full of spiders' webs. All
men, all, are fundamentally useless ; nature tolerates,
she does not need, she does not use them : sterile
flowers ! All — down to the fellow swinking in a
byre, whom fools point out for the exception — all
are useless ; all weave ropes of sand ; or, like a
child that has breathed on a window, write and
obliterate, write and obliterate, idle words ! Talk
of it no more. That way, I tell you, madness lies.'
The speaker rose from his chair and then sat down
again. He laughed a little laugh, and then, chang-
ing his tone, resumed : ' Yes, dear child, we are not
here to do battle with giants ; we are here to be
happy like the flowers, if we can be. It is because
you could, that I have always secretly admired you.
Cling to that trade ; believe me, it is the right one.
Be happy, be idle, be airy. To the devil with all
casuistry ! and leave the state to Gondremark, as
heretofore. He does it well enough, they say ; and
his vanity enjoys the situation.'
' Gotthold,' cried Otto, ' what is this to me ? Use-
less is not the question ; I cannot rest at uselessness ;
I must be useful or I must be noxious — one or other.
I grant you the whole thing, prince and principality
alike, is pure absurdity, a stroke of satire ; and that
a banker or the man who keeps an inn has graver
duties. But now, when I have washed my hands of
it three years, and left all — labour, responsibility,
and honour and enjoyment too, if there be any — to
Gondremark and to — Seraphina— — ' He hesitated
at the name, and Gotthold glanced aside. * Well,'
the Prince continued, ' what has come of it ? Taxes,
army, cannon— why, it 's like a box of lead soldiers !
And the people sick at the folly of it, and fired with
the injustice ! And war, too — I hear of war — war in
this teapot ! What a complication of absurdity and
disgrace ! And when the inevitable end arrives —
IN THE LIBRARY
the revolution — who will be to blame in the sight of
God, who will be gibbeted in public opinion ? I !
Prince Puppet ! '
' I thought you had despised public opinion,' said
' I did,' said Otto sombrely, ' but now I do not.
I am growing old. And then, Gotthold, there is
Seraphina. She is loathed in this country that I
brought her to and suffered her to spoil. Yes, I
gave it her as a plaything, and she has broken it : a
fine Prince, an admirable Princess ! Even her life —
I ask you, Gotthold, is her life safe ? '
' It is safe enough to-day,' replied the librarian ;
' but since you ask me seriously, I would not answer
for to-morrow. She is ill-advised.'
' And by whom ? By this Gondremark, to whom
you counsel me to leave my country,' cried the
Prince. ' Rare advice ! The course that I have
been following all these years, to come at last to
this. O, ill-advised ! if that were all ! See now,
there is no sense in beating about the bush between
two men : you know what scandal says of her ? '
Gotthold, with pursed lips, silently nodded.
' Well, come, you are not very cheering as to my
conduct as the Prince ; have I even done my duty
as a husband ? ' Otto asked.
'Nay, nay,' said Gotthold earnestly and eagerly,
'this is another chapter. I am an old celibate,
an old monk. I cannot advise you in your mar-
' Nor do I require advice,' said Otto, rising. ' All
of this must cease. ' And he began to walk to and
fro with his hands behind his back.
' Well, Otto, may God guide you ! ' said Gotthold,
after a considerable silence. 'I cannot.'
' From what does all this spring ? ' said the Prince,
stopping in his walk. 'What am I to call it?
Diffidence ? The fear of ridicule ? Inverted vanity ?
What matter names, if it has brought me to this ?
I could never bear to be bustling about nothing ; I
was ashamed of this toy kingdom from the first ; I
could not tolerate that people should fancy I believed
in a thing so patently absurd ! I would do nothing
that cannot be done smiling. I have a sense of
humour, forsooth ! I must know better than my
Maker. And it was the same thing in my marriage,'
he added more hoarsely. * I did not believe this
girl could care for me ; I must not intrude ; I must
preserve the foppery of my indifference. What an
impotent picture 1 '
* Ay, we have the same blood,' moralised Gotthold.
' You are drawing, with fine strokes, the character of
the born sceptic'
' Sceptic ? — coward ! ' cried Otto. ' Coward is
the word. A springless, putty-hearted, cowering
coward ! '
And as the Prince rapped out the words in tones
of unusual vigour, a little, stout old gentleman,
opening a door behind Gotthold, received them
fairly in the face. With his parrot's beak for a
nose, his pursed mouth, his little goggling eyes,
he was the picture of formality ; and in ordinary
IN THE LIBRARY
circumstances, strutting behind the drum of his
corporation, he impressed the beholder with a cer-
tain air of frozen dignity and wisdom. But at the
smallest contrariety, his trembling hands and dis-
connected gestures betrayed the weakness at the
root. And now, when he was thus surprisingly
received in that library of Mittwalden Palace, which
was the customary haunt of silence, his hands went
up into the air as if he had been shot, and he cried
aloud with the scream of an old woman.
' O ! ' he gasped, recovering, ' Your Highness ! I
beg ten thousand pardons. But your Highness at
such an hour in the library ! — a circumstance so
unusual as your Highness's presence was a thing I
could not, be expected to foresee.'
* There is no harm done, Herr Cancellarius,' said
' I came upon the errand of a moment : some
papers I left over-night with the Herr Doctor,' said
the Chancellor of Grunewald. — ' Herr Doctor, if
you will kindly give me them, I will intrude no
Gotthold unlocked a drawer and handed a bundle
of manuscript to the old gentleman, who prepared,
with fitting salutations, to take his departure.
' Herr Greisengesang, since we have met,' said
Otto, 'let us talk.'
' I am honoured by his Highness's commands,'
replied the Chancellor.
' All has been quiet since I left ? ' asked the Prince,
resuming his seat.
'The usual business, your Highness,' answered
Greisengesang ; ' punctual trifles : huge, indeed, if
neglected, but trifles when discharged. Your High-
ness is most zealously obeyed.'
' Obeyed, Herr Cancellarius ? ' returned the Prince.
'And when have I obliged you with an order? He-
placed, let us rather say. But to touch upon these
trifles ; instance me a few.'
'The routine of government, from which your
Highness has so wisely dissociated his leisure . . .'
' We will leave my leisure, sir,' said Otto.
'Approach the facts.'
'The routine of business was proceeded with,'
replied the official, now visibly twittering.
' It is very strange, Herr Cancellarius, that you
should so persistently avoid my questions,' said the
Prince. 'You tempt me to suppose a purpose in
your dulness. I have asked you whether all was
quiet ; do me the pleasure to reply.'
' Perfectly — O, perfectly quiet,' jerked the ancient
puppet, with every signal of untruth.
* I make a note of these words,' said the Prince
gravely. 'You assure me, your sovereign, that
since the date of my departure nothing has occurred
of which you owe me an account.'
' I take your Highness, I take the Herr Doctor to
witness,' cried Greisengesang, 'that I have had no
' Halt ! ' said the Prince ; and then, after a pause :
' Herr Greisengesang, you are an old man, and you
IN THE LIBRARY
served my father before you served me,' he added.
' It consists neither with your dignity nor mine that
you should babble excuses and stumble^, possibly
upon untruths. Collect your thoughts ; and then
categorically inform me of all you have been charged
Gotthold, stooping very low over his desk,
appeared to have resumed his labours ; but his
shoulders heaved with subterranean merriment.
The Prince waited, drawing his handkerchief
quietly through his fingers.
'Your Highness, in this informal manner,' said
the old gentleman at last, 'and being unavoidably
deprived of documents, it would be difficult, it
would be impossible, to do justice to the somewhat
grave occurrences which have transpired.'
'I will not criticise your attitude,' replied the
Prince. 'I desire that, between you and me, all
should be done gently ; for I have not forgotten,
my old friend, that you were kind to me from the
first, and for a period of years a faithful servant.
I will thus dismiss the matters on which you waive
immediate inquiry. But you have certain papers
actually in your hand. Come, Herr Greisengesang,
there is at least one point for which you have au-
thority. Enlighten me on that.'
' On that ? ' cried the old gentleman. ' O, that is
a trifle ; a matter, your Highness, of police ; a detail
of a purely administrative order. These are simply
a selection of the papers seized upon the English
9— E 65
' Seized ? ' echoed Otto. ' In what sense ? Ex-
■ Sir Jghn Crabtree,' interposed Gotthold, looking
up, ' was arrested yesterday evening.'
' Is this so, Herr Cancellarius ? ' demanded Otto
'It was judged right, your Highness,' protested
Greisengesang. ' The decree was in due form, in-
vested with your Highness's authority by procura-
tion. I am but an agent ; I had no status to
prevent the measure.'
' This man, my guest, has been arrested,' said the
Prince. ' On what grounds, sir ? With what colour
of pretence ? '
The Chancellor stammered.
'Your Highness will perhaps find the reason in
these documents,' said Gotthold, pointing with the
tail of his pen.
Otto thanked his cousin with a look. ' Give them
to me,' he said, addressing the Chancellor.
But that gentleman visibly hesitated to obey.
'Baron von Gondremark,' he said, 'has made the
affair his own. I am in this case a mere messenger ;
and as such, I am not clothed with any capacity to
communicate the documents I carry. Herr Doctor,
I am convinced you will not fail to bear me out.'
' I have heard a great deal of nonsense,' said Gott-
hold, ' and most of it from you ; but this beats all.'
' Come, sir,' said Otto, rising, ' the papers. I com-
Herr Greisengesang instantly gave way.
IN THE LIBRARY
'With your Highness's permission,' he said, 'and
laying at his feet my most submiss apologies, 1 will
now hasten to attend his further orders in the
'Herr Cancellarius, do you see this chair?' said
Otto. ' There is where you shall attend my further
orders. O, now, no more ! ' he cried, with a ges-
ture, as the old man opened his lips. 'You have
sufficiently marked your zeal to your employer ; and
I begin to weary of a moderation you abuse.'
The Chancellor moved to the appointed chair and
took his seat in silence.
' And now,' said Otto, opening the roll, ' what is
all this ? it looks like the manuscript of a book.'
' It is,' said Gotthold, ' the manuscript of a book
' You have read it, Doctor Hohenstockwitz ? '
asked the Prince.
' Nay, I but saw the title-page,' replied Gotthold.
' But the roll was given to me open, and I heard no
word of any secrecy.'
Otto dealt the Chancellor an angry glance.
' I see,' he went on. ' The papers of an author
seized at this date of the world's history, in a state
so petty and so ignorant as Griinewald, here is indeed
an ignominious folly. Sir,' to the Chancellor, ' I
marvel to find you in so scurvy an employment.
On your conduct to your Prince I will not dwell ;
but to descend to be a spy ! For what else can it
be called ? To seize the papers of this gentleman,
the private papers of a stranger, the toil of a life,
perhaps — to open, and to read them. And what
have we to do with books ? The Herr Doctor might
perhaps be asked for his advice ; but we have no
index eocpur gator ius in Griinewald. Had we but
that, we should be the most absolute parody and
farce upon this tawdry earth.'
Yet, even while Otto spoke, he had continued to
unfold the roll ; and now, when it lay fully open,
his eye rested on the title-page, elaborately written
in red ink. It ran thus :
OF A VISIT TO THE VARIOUS
COURTS OF EUROPE,
SIR JOHN CRABTREE, BARONET.
Below was a list of chapters, each bearing the
name of one of the European Courts ; and among
these the nineteenth and the last upon the list was
dedicated to Griinewald.
6 Ah ! The Court of Griinewald ! ' said Otto, ' that
should be droll reading.' And his curiosity itched
'A methodical dog, this English Baronet,' said
Gotthold. 'Each chapter written and finished on
the spot. I shall look for his work when it appears.'
' It would be odd, now, just to glance at it,' said
Gotthold's brow darkened, and he looked out of
IN THE LIBRARY
But though the Prince understood the reproof, his
weakness prevailed. ' I will,' he said, with an uneasy
laugh, ' I will, I think, just glance at it'
So saying, he resumed his seat and spread the
traveller's manuscript upon the table.
' ON THE COURT OF GRUNEWALD,' BEING A PORTION
OF THE TRAVELLER'S MANUSCRIPT
It may well be asked (it was thus the English
traveller began his nineteenth chapter) why I should
have chosen Griinewald out of so many other states
equally petty, formal, dull, and corrupt. Accident,
indeed, decided, and not I ; but I have seen no
reason to regret my visit. The spectacle of this
small society macerating in its own abuses was not
perhaps instructive, but I have found it exceedingly
The reigning Prince, Otto Johann Friedrich, a
young man of imperfect education, questionable
valour, and no scintilla of capacity, has fallen into
entire public contempt. It was with difficulty that
I obtained an interview, for he is frequently absent
from a court where his presence is unheeded, and
where his only role is to be a cloak for the amours
of his wife. At last, however, on the third occasion
when I visited the palace, I found this sovereign in
the exercise of his inglorious function, with the wife
' ON THE COURT OF GRUNEWALD '
on one hand and the lover on the other. He is not
ill-looking ; he has hair of a ruddy gold, which natur-
ally curls, and his eyes are dark, a combination which
I always regard as the mark of some congenital
deficiency, physical or moral ; his features are
irregular but pleasing; the nose perhaps a little
short, and the mouth a little womanish ; his address
is excellent, and he can express himself with point.
But to pierce below these externals is to come on a
vacuity of any sterling quality, a deliquescence of
the moral nature, a frivolity and inconsequence of
purpose that mark the nearly perfect fruit of a
decadent age. He has a worthless smattering of
many subjects, but a grasp of none. ' I soon weary
of a pursuit,' he said to me, laughing ; it would
almost appear as if he took a pride in his incapacity
and lack of moral courage. The results of his dilet-
tanteism are to be seen in every field ; he is a bad
fencer, a second-rate horseman, dancer, shot ; he
sings — I have heard him — and he sings like a child ;
he writes intolerable verses in more than doubtful
French ; he acts like the common amateur ; and in
short there is no end to the number of the things
that he does, and does badly. His one manly taste
is for the chase. In sum, he is but a plexus of
weaknesses ; the singing chambermaid of the stage,
tricked out in man's apparel and mounted on a
circus horse. I have seen this poor phantom of a
prince riding out alone or with a few huntsmen,
disregarded by all, and I have been even grieved for
the bearer of so futile and melancholy an existence.
'ON THE COURT
The last Merovingians may have looked not other-
The Princess Amalia Seraphina, a daughter of
the Grand-Ducal house of Toggenburg-Tannhauser,
would be equally inconsiderable if she were not a
cutting instrument in the hands of an ambitious
man. She is much younger than the Prince, a girl
of two-and-twenty, sick with vanity, superficially
clever, and fundamentally a fool. She has a red-
brown rolling eye, too large for her face, and with
sparks of both levity and ferocity ; her forehead is
high and narrow, her figure thin and a little stooping.
Her manners, her conversation, which she interlards
with French, her very tastes and ambitions, are
alike assumed, and the assumption is ungracefully
apparent : Hoyden playing Cleopatra. I should
judge her to be incapable of truth. In private life
a girl of this description embroils the peace of
families, walks attended by a troop of scowling
swains, and passes, once at least, through the divorce
court ; it is a common and, except to the cynic, an
uninteresting type. On the throne, however, and in
the hands of a man like Gondremark, she may
become the authoress of serious public evils.
Gondremark, the true ruler of this unfortunate
country, is a more complex study. His position in
Griinewald, to which he is a foreigner, is eminently
false; and that he should maintain it as he does,
a very miracle of impudence and dexterity. His
speech, his face, his policy, are all double : heads and
tails. Which of the two extremes may be his actual
design he were a bold man who should offer to
decide. Yet I will hazard the guess that he follows
both experimentally, and awaits, at the hand of
destiny, one of those directing hints of which she is
so lavish to the wise.
On the one hand, as Maire du Palais to the in-
competent Otto, and using the love-sick Princess
for a tool and mouthpiece, he pursues a policy of
arbitrary power and territorial aggrandisement. He
has called out the whole capable male population of
the state to military service ; he has bought cannon ;
he has tempted away promising officers from foreign
armies ; and he now begins, in his international
relations, to assume the swaggering port and the
vague threatful language of a bully. The idea of
extending Griinewald may appear absurd, but the
little state is advantageously placed, its neighbours
are all defenceless ; and if at any moment the
jealousies of the greater courts should neutralise each
other, an active policy might double the principality
both in population and extent. Certainly at least
the scheme is entertained in the court of Mittwalden ;
nor do I myself regard it as entirely desperate. The
margravate of Brandenburg has grown from as
small beginnings to a formidable power ; and though
it is late in the day to try adventurous policies, and
the age of war seems ended, Fortune, we must not
forget, still blindly turns her wheel for men and
nations. Concurrently with, and tributary to, these
warlike preparations, crushing taxes have been levied,
journals have been suppressed, and the country,
'ON THE COURT
which three years ago was prosperous and happy,
now stagnates in a forced inaction, gold has become
a curiosity, and the mills stand idle on the mountain
On the other hand, in his second capacity of
popular tribune, Gondremark is the incarnation of
the free lodges, and sits at the centre of an organised
conspiracy against the state. To any such move-
ment my sympathies were early acquired, and I
would not willingly let fall a word that might
embarrass or retard the revolution. But to show
that I speak of knowledge, and not as the reporter
of mere gossip, I may mention that I have myself
been present at a meeting where the details of a
republican Constitution were minutely debated and
arranged ; and I may add that Gondremark was
throughout referred to by the speakers as their
captain in action and the arbiter of their disputes.
He has taught his dupes (for so I must regard them)
that his power of resistance to the Princess is
limited, and at each fresh stretch of authority per-
suades them, with specious reasons, to postpone the
hour of insurrection. Thus (to give some instances
of his astute diplomacy) he salved over the decree
enforcing military service, under the plea that to
be well drilled and exercised in arms was even a
necessary preparation for revolt. And the other
day, when it began to be rumoured abroad that a
war was being forced on a reluctant neighbour, the
Grand Duke of Gerolstein, and I made sure it would
be the signal for an instant rising, I was struck
dumb with wonder to find that even this had been
prepared and was to be accepted. I went from one
to another in the Liberal camp, and all were in the
same story, all had been drilled and schooled and
fitted out with vacuous argument. 'The lads had
better see some real fighting,' they said ; ' and besides,
it will be as well to capture Gerolstein : we can then
extend to our neighbours the blessing of liberty on
the same day that we snatch it for ourselves ; and
the republic will be all the stronger to resist, if the
kings of Europe should band themselves together to
reduce it.' I know not which of the two I should
admire the more : the simplicity of the multitude or
the audacity of the adventurer. But such are the
subtleties, such the quibbling reasons, with which he
blinds and leads this people. How long a course so
tortuous can be pursued with safety I am incapable
of guessing ; not long, one would suppose ; and yet
this singular man has been treading the mazes for
five years, and his favour at court and his popularity
among the lodges still endure unbroken.
I have the privilege of slightly knowing him.
Heavily and somewhat clumsily built, of a vast,
disjointed, rambling frame, he can still pull himself
together, and figure, not without admiration, in the
saloon or the ball-room. His hue and temperament
are plentifully bilious ; he has a saturnine eye ; his
cheek is of a dark blue where he has been shaven.
Essentially he is to be numbered among the man-
haters, a convinced contemner of his fellows. Yet
he is himself of a commonplace ambition and
'ON THE COURT
greedy of applause. In talk, he is remarkable for a
thirst of information, loving rather to hear than to
communicate ; for sound and studious views ; and,
judging by the extreme short-sightedness of common
politicians, for a remarkable prevision of events.
All this, however, without grace, pleasantry, or
charm, heavily set forth, with a dull countenance.
In our numerous conversations, although he has
always heard me with deference, I have been con-
scious throughout of a sort of ponderous finessing
hard to tolerate. He produces none of the effect of
a gentleman ; devoid not merely of pleasantry, but
of all attention or communicative warmth of bearing.
No gentleman, besides, would so parade his amours
with the Princess ; still less repay the Prince for his
long-suffering with a studied insolence of demeanour
and the fabrication of insulting nicknames, such as
Prince Featherhead, which run from ear to ear and
create a laugh throughout the country. Gondremark
has thus some of the clumsier characters of the self-
made man, combined with an inordinate, almost a
besotted, pride of intellect and birth. Heavy, bilious,
selfish, inornate, he sits upon this court and country
like an incubus.
But it is probable that he preserves softer gifts for
necessary purposes. Indeed, it is certain, although
he vouchsafed none of it to me, that this cold and
stolid politician possesses to a great degree the art
of ingratiation, and can be all things to all men.
Hence there has probably sprung up the idle legend
that in private life he is a gross romping voluptuary.
Nothing, at least, can well be more surprising than
the terms of his connection with the Princess. Older
than her husband, certainly uglier, and, according to
the feeble ideas common among women, in every
particular less pleasing, he has not only seized the
complete command of all her thought and action,
but has imposed on her in public a humiliating part.
I do not here refer to the complete sacrifice of every
rag of her reputation ; for to many women these
extremities are in themselves attractive. But there
is about the court a certain lady of a dishevelled
reputation, a Countess von Rosen, wife or widow of
a cloudy count, no longer in her second youth, and
already bereft of some of her attractions, who
unequivocally occupies the station of the Baron's
mistress. I had thought, at first, that she was but
a hired accomplice, a mere blind or buffer for the
more important sinner. A few hours' acquaintance
with Madame von Rosen for ever dispelled the
illusion. She is one rather to make than to prevent
a scandal, and she values none of those bribes —
money, honours, or employment — with which the
situation might be gilded. Indeed, as a person
frankly bad, she pleased me, in the court of Griine-
wald, like a piece of nature.
The power of this man over the Princess is,
therefore, without bounds. She has sacrificed to the
adoration with which he has inspired her not only
her marriage vow and every shred of public decency,
but that vice of jealousy which is so much dearer to
the female sex than either intrinsic honour or out-
<ON THE COURT OF GRUNEWALD'
ward consideration. Nay, more : a young, although
not a very attractive woman, and a princess both by
birth and fact, she submits to the triumphant rivalry
of one who might be her mother as to years, and
who is so manifestly her inferior in station. This is
one of the mysteries of the human heart. But the
rage of illicit love, when it is once indulged, appears
to grow by feeding ; and to a person of the charac-
ter and temperament of this unfortunate young lady,
almost any depth of degradation is within the reach
THE PRINCE AND THE ENGLISH TRAVELLER
So far Otto read, with waxing indignation ; and here
his fury overflowed. He tossed the roll upon the
table and stood up. ' This man,' he said, ' is a devil.
A filthy imagination, an ear greedy of evil, a pon-
derous malignity of thought and language : I grow
like him by the reading ! Chancellor, where is this
fellow lodged ? '
'He was committed to the Flag Tower,' replied
Greisengesang, 'in the Gamiani apartment.'
' Lead me to him,' said the Prince ; and then, a
thought striking him, 'Was it for that,' he asked,
' that I found so many sentries in the garden ? '
' Your Highness, I am unaware,' answered Greisen-
gesang, true to his policy. 'The disposition of the
guards is a matter distinct from my functions.'
Otto turned upon the old man fiercely, but ere he
had time to speak, Gotthold touched him on the
arm. He swallowed his wrath with a great effort.
' It is well,' he said, taking the road. ' Follow me
to the Flag Tower.'
THE PRINCE AND
The Chancellor gathered himself together, and the
two set forward. It was a long and complicated
voyage ; for the library was in the wing of the new
buildings, and the tower which carried the flag was
in the old schloss upon the garden. By a great
variety of stairs and corridors they came out at last
upon a patch of gravelled court ; the garden peeped
through a high grating with a flash of green ; tall,
old, gabled buildings mounted on every side ; the
Flag Tower climbed, stage after stage, into the blue ;
and high over all, among the building daws, the
yellow flag wavered in the wind. A sentinel at the
foot of the tower stairs presented arms ; another
paced the first landing; and a third was stationed
before the door of the extemporised prison.
* We guard this mud-bag like a jewel,' Otto
The Gamiani apartment was so called from an
Italian doctor who had imposed on the credulity of
a former prince. The rooms were large, airy, plea-
sant, and looked upon the garden ; but the walls
were of great thickness (for the tower was old), and
the windows were heavily barred. The Prince,
followed by the Chancellor, still trotting to keep up
with him, brushed swiftly through the little library
and the long saloon, and burst like a thunderbolt
into the bedroom at the farther end. Sir John was
finishing his toilet; a man of fifty, hard, uncom-
promising, able, with the eye and teeth of physical
courage. He was unmoved by the irruption, and
bowed with a sort of sneering ease.
THE ENGLISH TRAVELLER
'To what am I to attribute the honour of this
visit ? ' he asked.
'You have eaten my bread,' replied Otto, 'you
have taken my hand, you have been received
under my roof. When did I fail you in courtesy ?
What have you asked that was not granted as
to an honoured guest ? And here, sir,' tapping
fiercely on the manuscript, 'here is your re-
' Your Highness has read my papers ? ' said the
Baronet. ' I am honoured indeed. But the sketch
is most imperfect. I shall now have much to add.
I can say that the Prince, whom I had accused of
idleness, is zealous in the department of police,
taking upon himself those duties that are most
distasteful. I shall be able to relate the burlesque
incident of my arrest, and the singular interview
with which you honour me at present. For the rest,
I have already communicated with my Ambassador
at Vienna ; and unless you propose to murder me, I
shall be at liberty, whether you please or not, within
the week. For I hardly fancy the future empire
of Griinewald is yet ripe to go to war with England.
I conceive I am a little more than quits. I owe
you no explanation ; yours has been the wrong.
You, if you have studied my writing with intelli-
gence, owe me a large debt of gratitude. And to
conclude, as I have not yet finished my toilet, I
imagine the courtesy of a turnkey to a prisoner
would induce you to withdraw.'
There was some paper on the table, and Otto,
q— f 8 1
THE PRINCE AND
sitting down, wrote a passport in the name of Sir
' Affix the seal, Herr Cancellarius,' he said, in his
most princely manner, as he rose.
Greisengesang produced a red portfolio, and affixed
the seal in the unpoetic guise of an adhesive stamp ;
nor did his perturbed and clumsy movements at all
lessen the comedy of the performance. Sir John
looked on with a malign enjoyment ; and Otto
chafed, regretting, when too late, the unnecessary
royalty of his command and gesture. But at length
the Chancellor had finished his piece of prestidigi-
tation, and, without waiting for an order, had
countersigned the passport. Thus regularised, he
returned it to Otto with a bow.
'You will now,' said the Prince, 'order one of my
own carriages to be prepared ; see it, with your own
eyes, charged with Sir John's effects, and have it
waiting within the hour behind the Pheasant House.
Sir John departs this morning for Vienna.'
The Chancellor took his elaborate departure.
' Here, sir, is your passport,' said Otto, turning to
the Baronet. ' I regret it from my heart that you
have met inhospitable usage.'
' Well, there will be no English war,' returned
'Nay, sir,' said Otto, 'you surely owe me your
civility. Matters are now changed, and we stand
again upon the footing of two gentlemen. It was
not I who ordered your arrest ; I returned late last
night from hunting ; and as you cannot blame me
THE ENGLISH TRAVELLER
for your imprisonment, you may even thank me for
'And yet you read my papers,' said the traveller
' There, sir, I was wrong,' returned Otto ; ' and for
that I ask your pardon. You can scarce refuse it,
for your own dignity, to one who is a plexus of
weaknesses. Nor was the fault entirely mine. Had
the papers been innocent, it would have been at
most an indiscretion. Your own guilt is the sting
of my offence. '
Sir John regarded Otto with an approving twinkle ;
then he bowed, but still in silence.
* Well, sir, as you are now at your entire disposal,
I have a favour to beg of your indulgence,' con-
tinued the Prince. ' I have to request that you will
walk with me alone into the garden so soon as your
'From the moment that I am a free man,' Sir
John replied, this time with perfect courtesy, ' I am
wholly at your Highness's command ; and if you will
excuse a rather summary toilet, I will even follow
you as I am.'
' I thank you, sir,' said Otto.
So without more delay, the Prince leading, the
pair proceeded down through the echoing stairway
of the tower, and out through the grating, into the
ample air and sunshine of the morning and among
the terraces and flower-beds of the garden. They
crossed the fish-pond, where the carp were leaping
as thick as bees ; they mounted, one after another,
THE PRINCE AND
the various flights of stairs, snowed upon, as they
went, with April blossoms, and marching in time to
the great orchestra of birds. Nor did Otto pause
till they had reached the highest terrace of the
garden. Here was a gate into the park, and hard
by, under a tuft of laurel, a marble garden seat.
Hence they looked down on the green tops of many
elm-trees, where the rooks were busy ; and, beyond
that, upon the palace roof, and the yellow banner
flying in the blue. ' I pray you to be seated, sir,'
Sir John complied without a word ; and for some
seconds Otto walked to and fro before him, plunged
in angry thought. The birds were all singing for a
' Sir,' said the Prince at length, turning towards
the Englishman, ' you are to me, except by the
conventions of society, a perfect stranger. Of your
character and wishes I am ignorant. I have never
wittingly disobliged you. There is a difference in
station, which I desire to waive. I would, if you
still think me entitled to so much consideration — I
would be regarded simply as a gentleman. Now,
sir, I did wrong to glance at these papers, which I
here return to you ; but if curiosity be undignified,
as I am free to own, falsehood is both cowardly and
cruel. I opened your roll ; and what did I find —
what did I find about my wife ? Lies ! ' he broke
out. ' They are lies ! There are not, so help me
God ! four words of truth in your intolerable libel !
You are a man ; you are old, and might be the girl's
THE ENGLISH TRAVELLER
father ; you are a gentleman ; you are a scholar, and
have learned refinement ; and you rake together all
this vulgar scandal, and propose to print it in a
public book ! Such is your chivalry ! But, thank
God, sir, she has still a husband. You say, sir, in
that paper in your hand, that I am a bad fencer; I
have to request from you a lesson in the art. The
park is close behind ; yonder is the Pheasant House,
where you will find your carriage ; should I fall, you
know, sir — you have written it in your paper — how
little my movements are regarded ; I am in the
custom of disappearing : it will be one more dis-
appearance ; and long before it has awakened a
remark, you may be safe across the border.'
* You will observe,' said Sir John, ' that what you
ask is impossible.'
' And if I struck you ? ' cried the Prince, with a
sudden menacing flash.
' It would be a cowardly blow,' returned the
Baronet, unmoved, 'for it would make no change.
I cannot draw upon a reigning sovereign.'
'And it is this man, to whom you dare not
offer satisfaction, that you choose to insult ! ' cried
'Pardon me,' said the traveller, 'you are unjust.
It is because you are a reigning sovereign that I
cannot fight with you ; and it is for the same reason
that I have a right to criticise your action and your
wife. You are in everything a public creature ; you
belong to the public, body and bone. You have
with you the law, the muskets of the army, and the
THE PRINCE AND
eyes of spies. We, on our side, have but one weapon
* Truth ! ' echoed the Prince, with a gesture.
There was another silence.
'Your Highness,' said Sir John at last, 'you must
not expect grapes from a thistle. I am old and a
cynic. Nobody cares a rush for me ; and on the
whole, after the present interview, I scarce know
anybody that I like better than yourself. You see,
I have changed my mind, and have the uncommon
virtue to avow the change. I tear up this stuff
before you, here in your own garden ; I ask your
pardon, I ask the pardon of the Princess ; and I
give you my word of honour as a gentleman and an
old man, that when my book of travels shall appear
it shall not contain so much as the name of Griine-
wald. And yet it was a racy chapter! But had
your Highness only read about the other courts ! I
am a carrion crow ; but it is not my fault, after all,
that the world is such a nauseous kennel.'
' Sir,' said Otto, ' is the eye not jaundiced ? '
' Nay,' cried the traveller, ' very likely. I am one
who goes sniffing; I am no poet. I believe in a
better future for the world ; or, at all accounts, I
do most potently disbelieve in the present. Rotten
eggs is the burthen of my song. But indeed, your
Highness, when I meet with any merit, I do not
think that I am slow to recognise it. This is a day
that I shall still recall with gratitude, for I have
found a sovereign with some manly virtues ; and for
once — old courtier and old radical as I am — it is
THE ENGLISH TRAVELLER
from the heart and quite sincerely that I can request
the honour of kissing your Highness's hand ? '
'Nay, sir,' said Otto, ' to my heart ! '
And the Englishman, taken at unawares, was
clasped for a moment in the Prince's arms.
'And now, sir,' added Otto, 'there is the Pheasant
House ; close behind it you will find my carriage,
which I pray you to accept. God speed you to
Vienna ! '
'In the impetuosity of youth,' replied Sir John,
' your Highness has overlooked one circumstance :
I am still fasting.'
'Well, sir,' said Otto, smiling, ' you are your own
master ; you may go or stay. But I warn you, your
friend may prove less powerful than your enemies.
The Prince, indeed, is thoroughly on your side ; he
has all the will to help ; but to whom do I speak ? —
you know better than I do, he is not alone in
' There is a deal in position,' returned the traveller,
gravely nodding. ' Gondremark loves to temporise ;
his policy is below ground, and he fears all open
courses ; and now that I have seen you act with so
much spirit, I will cheerfully risk myself on your
protection. Who knows ? You may be yet the
' Do you indeed believe so ? ' cried the Prince.
' You put life into my heart ! '
' I will give up sketching portraits,' said the
Baronet. ' I am a blind owl ; I had misread you
strangely. And yet remember this : a sprint is one
THE ENGLISH TRAVELLER
thing, and to run all day another. For I still mis-
trust your constitution ; the short nose, the hair and
eyes of several complexions ; no, they are diagnostic ;
and I must end, I see, as I began.'
* I am still a singing chambermaid ? ' said Otto.
' Nay, your Highness, I pray you to forget what I
had written,' said Sir John ; 'I am not like Pilate;
and the chapter is no more. Bury it, if you love
WHILE THE PRINCE IS IN THE ANTE-ROOM . . .
Greatly comforted by the exploits of the morning,
the Prince turned towards the Princess's ante-room,
bent on a more difficult enterprise. The curtains
rose before him, the usher called his name, and he
entered the room with an exaggeration of his usual
mincing and airy dignity. There were about a score
of persons waiting, principally ladies ; it was one of
the few societies in Griinewald where Otto knew
himself to be popular ; and while a maid of honour
made her exit by a side door to announce his arrival
to the Princess, he moved round the apartment,
collecting homage and bestowing compliments with
friendly grace. Had this been the sum of his
duties, he had been an admirable monarch. Lady
after lady was impartially honoured by his atten-
' Madam,' he said to one, ' how does this happen ?
I find you daily more adorable.'
'And your Highness daily browner,' replied the
lady. ' We began equal ; oh, there I will be bold :
WHILE THE PRINCE
we have both beautiful complexions. But while I
study mine, your Highness tans himself.'
' A perfect negro, madam ; and what so fitly
— being beauty's slave ? ' said Otto. — ' Madame
Grafmski, when is our next play? I have just
heard that I am a bad actor.'
'O del!' cried Madame Grafmski. 'Who could
venture ? What a bear ! '
'An excellent man, I can assure you,' returned
' O, never ! O, is it possible ? ' fluted the lady.
' Your Highness plays like an angel ! '
' You must be right, madam ; who could speak
falsely and yet look so charming ? ' said the Prince.
' But this gentleman, it seems, would have preferred
me playing like an actor.'
A sort of hum, a falsetto, feminine cooing, greeted
the tiny sally ; and Otto expanded like a peacock.
This warm atmosphere of women and flattery and
idle chatter pleased him to the marrow.
' Madame von Eisenthal, your coiffure is delicious,'
' Every one was saying so,' said one.
' If I have pleased Prince Charming ? ' And
Madame von Eisenthal swept him a deep curtsy with
a killing glance of adoration.
' It is new ? ' he asked. ' Vienna fashion.'
' Mint new,' replied the lady, ' for your Highness's
return. I felt young this morning ; it was a pre-
monition. But why, Prince, do you ever leave us ? '
' For the pleasure of the return,' said Otto. ' I am
IS IN THE ANTE-ROOM . . .
like a dog ; I must bury my bone, and then come
back to gloat upon it.'
' O, a bone ! Fie, what a comparison ! You
have brought back the manners of the wood,' re-
turned the lady.
' Madam, it is what the dog has dearest,' said the
Prince. ' But I observe Madame von Rosen.'
And Otto, leaving the group to which he had been
piping, stepped towards the embrasure of a window
where a lady stood.
The Countess von Rosen had hitherto been silent,
and a thought depressed, but on the approach of
Otto she began to brighten. She was tall, slim as a
nymph, and of a very airy carriage ; and her face,
which was already beautiful in repose, lightened and
changed, flashed into smiles, and glowed with lovely
colour at the touch of animation. She was a good
vocalist ; and, even in speech, her voice commanded
a great range of changes, the low notes rich with
tenor quality, the upper ringing, on the brink of
laughter, into music. A gem of many facets and
variable hues of fire ; a woman who withheld the
better portion of her beauty, and then, in a caressing
second, flashed it like a weapon full on the beholder ;
now merely a tall figure and a sallow handsome
face, with the evidences of a reckless temper ;
anon opening like a flower to life and colour, mirth
and tenderness : — Madame von Rosen had always
a dagger in reserve for the despatch of ill-assured
admirers. She met Otto with the dart of tender
WHILE THE PRINCE
* You have come to me at last, Prince Cruel,' she
said. ' Butterfly ! Well, and am I not to kiss your
hand ? ' she added.
' Madam, it is I who must kiss yours.' And Otto
bowed and kissed it.
' You deny me every indulgence,' she said, smiling.
' And now what news in Court ? ' inquired the
Prince. ' I come to you for my gazette.'
' Ditch-water ! ' she replied. * The world is all
asleep, grown grey in slumber ; I do not remember
any waking movement since quite an eternity ; and
the last thing in the nature of a sensation was the
last time my governess was allowed to box my ears.
But yet I do myself and your unfortunate enchanted
palace some injustice. Here is the last — O posi-
tively ! ' And she told him the story from behind her
fan, with many glances, many cunning strokes of the
narrator's art. The others had drawn away, for it
was understood that Madame von Rosen was in
favour with the Prince. None the less, however, did
the Countess lower her voice at times to within a
semitone of whispering ; and the pair leaned together
over the narrative.
'Do you know,' said Otto, laughing, 'you are the
only entertaining woman on this earth ! '
' O, you have found out so much,' she cried.
' Yes, madam, I grow wiser with advancing years,'
' Years ! ' she repeated. ' Do you name the trai-
tors ? I do not believe in years ; the calendar is a
IS IN THE ANTE-ROOM . . .
' You must be right, madam,' replied the Prince.
' For six years that we have been good friends, I have
observed you to grow younger.'
' Flatterer ! ' cried she, and then, with a change,
' But why should I say so,' she added, ' when I pro-
test I think the same ? A week ago I had a council
with my father director, the glass; and the glass
replied, " Not yet ! " I confess my face in this way
once a month. O ! a very solemn moment. Do
you know what I shall do when the mirror answers,
' I cannot guess,' said he.
* No more can I,' returned the Countess. ' There
is such a choice ! Suicide, gambling, a nunnery, a
volume of memoirs, or politics — the last, I am afraid.'
* It is a dull trade,' said Otto.
' Nay,' she replied, ' it is a trade I rather like. It
is, after all, first cousin to gossip, which no one can
deny to be amusing. For instance, if I were to tell
you that the Princess and the Baron rode out together
daily to inspect the cannon, it is either a piece of
politics or scandal, as I turn my phrase. I am the
alchemist that makes the transmutation. They have
been everywhere together since you left,' she con-
tinued, brightening as she saw Otto darken ; ' that is
a poor snippet of malicious gossip — and they were
everywhere cheered — and with that addition all be-
comes political intelligence.'
* Let us change the subject,' said Otto.
* I was about to propose it,' she replied, ' or rather
to pursue the politics. Do you know ? this war is
WHILE THE PRINCE
popular — popular to the length of cheering Princess
* All things, madam, are possible,' said the Prince ;
' and this among others, that we may be going into
war, but I give you my word of honour I do not
know with whom.'
' And you put up with it ? ' she cried. * I have no
pretensions to morality ; and I confess I have always
abominated the lamb, and nourished a romantic feel-
ing for the wolf. O, be done with lambiness ! Let
us see there is a prince, for I am weary of the distaff.'
' Madam,' said Otto, ' I thought you were of that
' I should be of yours, mori Prince, if you had one,'
she retorted. * Is it true that you have no ambition ?
There was a man once in England whom they call
the kingmaker. Do you know,' she added, * I fancy
I could make a prince ? '
' Some day, madam,' said Otto, ' I may ask you to
help make a farmer.'
' Is that a riddle ? ' asked the Countess.
* It is,' replied the Prince, ' and a very good one
* Tit for tat. I will ask you another,' she returned.
' Where is Gondremark ? '
' The Prime Minister ? In the prime-ministry, no
doubt,' said Otto.
' Precisely,' said the Countess ; and she pointed
with her fan to the door of the Princess's apartments.
' You and I, mon Prince, are in the ante-room. You
think me unkind,' she added. ' Try me and you will
IS IN THE ANTE-ROOM . . .
see. Set me a task, put me a question ; there is no
enormity I am not capable of doing to oblige you,
and no secret that I am not ready to betray.'
' Nay, madam, but I respect my friend too much,'
he answered, kissing her hand. ' I would rather
remain ignorant of all. We fraternise like foemen
soldiers at the outposts, but let each be true to his
' Ah,' she cried, ' if all men were generous like you,
it would be worth while to be a woman ! ' Yet,
judging by her looks, his generosity, if anything, had
disappointed her ; she seemed to seek a remedy, and,
having found it, brightened once more. ' And now,'
she said, ' may I dismiss my sovereign ? This is
rebellion and a cas pendable ; but what am I to
do ? My bear is jealous ! '
' Madam, enough ! ' cried Otto. * Ahasuerus
reaches you the sceptre ; more, he will obey you in
all points. I should have been a dog to come to
And so the Prince departed, and fluttered round
Grafinski and von Eisenthal. But the Countess
knew the use of her offensive weapons, and had left
a pleasant arrow in the Prince's heart. That Gondre-
mark was jealous — here was an agreeable revenge !
And Madame von Rosen, as the occasion of the
jealousy, appeared to him in a new light.
. . . GONDEEMARK IS IN MY LADY'S CHAMBER
The Countess von Rosen spoke the truth. The
great Prime Minister of Griinewald was already
closeted with Seraphina. The toilet was over ; and
the Princess, tastefully arrayed, sat face to face with
a tall mirror. Sir John's description was unkindly
true, true in terms and yet a libel, a misogynistic
masterpiece. Her forehead was perhaps too high, but
it became her ; her figure somewhat stooped, but
every detail was formed and finished like a gem ; her
hand, her foot, her ear, the set of her comely head,
were all dainty and accordant ; if she was not beauti-
ful, she was vivid, changeful, coloured, and pretty
with a thousand various prettinesses ; and her eyes,
if they indeed rolled too consciously, yet rolled to
purpose. They were her most attractive feature, yet
they continually bore eloquent false witness to her
thoughts ; for while she herself, in the depths of her
immature, un softened heart, was given altogether to
manlike ambition and the desire of power, the eyes
were by turns bold, inviting, fiery, melting, and art-
MY LADY'S CHAMBER
ful, like the eyes of a rapacious siren. And artful,
in a sense, she was. Chafing that she was not a man,
and could not shine by action, she had conceived a
woman's part, of answerable domination ; she sought
to subjugate for by-ends, to rain influence and be
fancy free ; and, while she loved not man, loved to see
man obey her. It is a common girl's ambition. Such
was perhaps that lady of the glove, who sent her
lover to the lions. But the snare is laid alike for
male and female, and the world most artfully con-
Near her, in a low chair, Gondremark had arranged
his limbs into a cat-like attitude, high-shouldered,
stooping, and submiss. The formidable blue jowl
of the man, and the dull bilious eye, set perhaps a
higher value on his evident desire to please. His
face was marked by capacity, temper, and a kind of
bold, piratical dishonesty which it would be calum-
nious to call deceit. His manners, as he smiled
upon the Princess, were over-fine, yet hardly elegant.
* Possibly,' said the Baron, ' I should now proceed
to take my leave. I must not keep my sovereign
in the ante-room. Let us come at once to a de-
' It cannot, cannot be put off? ' she asked.
' It is impossible,' answered Gondremark. ' Your
Highness sees it for herself. In the earlier stages
we might imitate the serpent ; but for the ultimatum
there is no choice but to be bold like lions. Had
the Prince chosen to remain away, it had been
better ; but we have gone too far forward to delay.'
9— G 97
. . . GONDREMARK IS
' What can have brought him ? ' she cried.
< To-day of all days V
'The marplot, madam, has the instinct of his
nature,' returned Gondremark. ' But you exaggerate
the peril. Think, madam, how far we have prospered,
and against what odds ? Shall a Featherhead ? — but
no ! ' And he blew upon his fingers lightly with a
'Featherhead,' she replied, 'is still the Prince of
' On your sufferance only, and so long as you
shall please to be indulgent,' said the Baron. ' There
are rights of nature ; power to the powerful is the
law. If he shall think to cross your destiny —
well, you have heard of the brazen and the earthen
' Do you call me pot ? You are ungallant, Baron,'
laughed the Princess.
' Before we are done with your glory, I shall have
called you by many different titles,' he replied.
The girl flushed with pleasure. ' But Frederic is
still the Prince, monsieur le Jlatteur,' 1 she said.
' You do not propose a revolution ? — you of all
men ? '
' Dear madam, when it is already made ! ' he cried.
' The Prince reigns indeed in the almanac ; but my
Princess reigns and rules.' And he looked at her
with a fond admiration that made the heart of
Seraphina swell. Looking on her huge slave, she
drank the intoxicating joys of power. Meanwhile
he continued, with that sort of massive archness that
IN MY LADY'S CHAMBER
so ill became him, ' She has but one fault ; there is
but one danger in the great career that I foresee for
her ? May I name it ? may I be so irreverent ? It
is in herself — her heart is soft. '
' Her courage is faint, Baron,' said the Princess.
' Suppose we have judged ill, suppose we were
defeated ? '
' Defeated, madam 1 ' returned the Baron, with a
touch of ill-humour. * Is the dog defeated by the
hare? Our troops are all cantoned along the
frontier ; in five hours the vanguard of five thousand
bayonets shall be hammering on the gates of Bran-
denau ; and in all Gerolstein there are not fifteen
hundred men who can manoeuvre. It is as simple
as a sum. There can be no resistance.'
' It is no great exploit,' she said. ' Is that what
you call glory ? It is like beating a child.'
' The courage, madam, is diplomatic,' he replied.
' We take a grave step ; we fix the eyes of Europe,
for the first time, on Griinewald ; and in the negotia-
tions of the next three months, mark me, we stand
or fall. It is there, madam, that I shall have to
depend upon your counsels,' he added, almost
gloomily. ' If I had not seen you at work, if I
did not know the fertility of your mind, I own I
should tremble for the consequence. But it is in
this field that men must recognise their inability.
All the great negotiators, when they have not
been women, have had women at their elbows.
Madame de Pompadour was ill served ; she had not
found her Gondremark ; but what a mighty politician !
. . . GONDREMARK IS
Catherine de' Medici, too, what justice of sight, what
readiness of means, what elasticity against defeat !
But alas ! madam, her Featherheads were her own
children ; and she had that one touch of vulgarity,
that one trait of the good-wife, that she suffered
family ties and affections to confine her liberty.'
These singular views of history, strictly ad usum
Seraphince, did not weave their usual soothing spell
over the Princess. It was plain that she had taken
a momentary distaste to her own resolutions ; for
she continued to oppose her counsellor, looking
upon him out of half-closed eyes and with the
shadow of a sneer upon her lips. ' What boys men
are ! ' she said ; ' what lovers of big words ! Courage,
indeed ! If you had to scour pans, Herr von
Gondremark, you would call it, I suppose, Domestic
Courage ? '
' I would, madam,' said the Baron stoutly, ' if I
scoured them well. I would put a good name upon
a virtue ; you will not overdo it ; they are not so
enchanting in themselves.'
* Well, but let me see,' she said. ' I wish to
understand your courage. Why we asked leave,
like children ! Our grannie in Berlin, our uncle in
Vienna, the whole family, have patted us on the
head and sent us forward. Courage ? I wonder
when I hear you ! '
' My Princess is unlike herself,' returned the Baron.
' She has forgotten where the peril lies. True, we
have received encouragement on every hand ; but
my Princess knows too well on what untenable con-
IN MY LADY'S CHAMBER
ditions ; and she knows besides how, in the publicity
of the diet, these whispered conferences are forgotten
and disowned. The danger is very real ' — he raged
inwardly at having to blow the very coal he had
been quenching — * none the less real in that it is
not precisely military, but for that reason the easier
to be faced. Had we to count upon your troops,
although I share your Highness's expectations of the
conduct of Alvenau, we cannot forget that he has not
been proved in chief command. But where negotia-
tion is concerned, the conduct lies with us ; and with
your help, I laugh at danger.'
' It may be so,' said Seraphina, sighing. ' It is
elsewhere that I see danger. The people, these
abominable people— suppose they should instantly
rebel ? What a figure we should make in the eyes
of Europe to have undertaken an invasion while my
own throne was tottering to its fall ! '
* Nay, madam,' said Gondremark, smiling, ' here
you are beneath yourself. What is it that feeds
their discontent ? What but the taxes ? Once we
have seized Gerolstein, the taxes are remitted, the
sons return covered with renown, the houses are
adorned with pillage, each tastes his little share of
military glory, and behold us once again a happy
family ! " Ay," they will say, in each other's long
ears, " the Princess knew what she was about ; she
was in the right of it ; she has a head upon her
shoulders ; and here we are, you see, better off than
before." But why should I say all this ? It is
what my Princess pointed out to me herself; it
. . . GONDREMARK IS
was by these reasons that she converted me to this
' I think, Herr von Gondremark,' said Seraphina,
somewhat tartly, ' you often attribute your own
sagacity to your Princess.'
For a second Gondremark staggered under the
shrewdness of the attack ; the next, he had perfectly
recovered. ' Do I ? ' he said. ' It is very possible.
I have observed a similar tendency in your Highness.'
It was so openly spoken, and appeared so just,
that Seraphina breathed again. Her vanity had
been alarmed, and the greatness of the relief im-
proved her spirits. * Well,' she said, ' all this is little
to the purpose. We are keeping Frederic without,
and I am still ignorant of our line of battle. Come,
co-admiral, let us consult. . . . How am I to receive
him now ? And what are we to do if he should
appear at the council ? '
' Now,' he answered. ' I shall leave him to my
Princess for just now ! I have seen her at work.
Send him off to his theatricals ! But in all gentle-
ness,' he added. ' Would it, for instance, would it
displease my sovereign to affect a headache ? '
' Never ! ' said she. ' The woman who can manage,
like the man who can fight, must never shrink from
an encounter. The knight must not disgrace his
' Then let me pray my belle dame sans merci,' he
returned, ' to affect the only virtue that she lacks.
Be pitiful to the poor young man ; affect an interest
in his hunting ; be weary of politics ; find in his
IN MY LADY'S CHAMBER
society, as it were, a grateful repose from dry con-
siderations. Does my Princess authorise the line of
battle ? '
; Well, that is a trifle,' answered Seraphina. ' The
council — there is the point.'
' The council ? ' cried Gondremark. ' Permit me,
madam.' And he rose and proceeded to flutter
about the room, counterfeiting Otto both in voice
and gesture not unhappily. ' What is there to-day,
Herr von Gondremark ? Ah, Herr Cancellarius, a
new wig ! You cannot deceive me ; I know every
wig in Griinewald ; I have the sovereign's eye.
What are these papers about ? O, I see. O,
certainly. Surely, surely. I wager none of you
remarked that wig. By all means. I know nothing
about that. Dear me, are there as many as all that ?
Well, you can sign them ; you have the procuration.
You see, Herr Cancellarius, I knew your wig.
And so,' concluded Gondremark, resuming his own
voice, * our sovereign, by the particular grace of God,
enlightens and supports his privy councillors.'
But when the Baron turned to Seraphina for
approval he found her frozen. ' You are pleased to
be witty, Herr von Gondremark,' she said, ' and have
perhaps forgotten where you are. But these re-
hearsals are apt to be misleading. Your master,
the Prince of Griinewald, is sometimes more
Gondremark cursed her in his soul. Of all injured
vanities, that of the reproved buffoon is the most
savage ; and when grave issues are involved, these
MY LADY'S CHAMBER
petty stabs become unbearable. But Gondremark
was a man of iron ; he showed nothing ; he did not
even, like the common trickster, retreat because
he had presumed, but held to his point bravely.
' Madam,' he said, ' if, as you say, he prove exacting,
we must take the bull by the horns.'
'We shall see/ she said, and she arranged her
skirt like one about to rise. Temper, scorn, disgust,
all the more acrid feelings, became her like jewels ;
and she now looked her best.
' Pray God they quarrel,' thought Gondremark.
'The damned minx may fail me yet, unless they
quarrel. It is time to let him in. Zz — fight, dogs ! '
Consequent on these reflections, he bent a stiff knee
and chivalrously kissed the Princess's hand. 'My
Princess,' he said, 'must now dismiss her servant.
I have much to arrange against the hour of council.'
' Go,' she said, and rose.
And as Gondremark tripped out of a private door,
she touched a bell, and gave the order to admit the
THE PRINCE DELIVERS A LECTURE ON MARRIAGE,
WITH PRACTICAL ILLUSTRATIONS OF DIVORCE
With what a world of excellent intentions Otto
entered his wife's cabinet! how fatherly, how
tender! how morally affecting were the words he
had prepared ! Nor was Seraphina unamiably in-
clined. Her usual fear of Otto as a marplot in her
great designs was now swallowed up in a passing
distrust of the designs themselves. For Gondre-
mark, besides, she had conceived an angry horror.
In her heart she did not like the Baron. Behind
his impudent servility, behind the devotion which,
with indelicate delicacy, he still forced on her atten-
tion, she divined the grossness of his nature. So a
man may be proud of having tamed a bear, and yet
sicken at his captive's odour. And above all, she
had certain jealous intimations that the man was
false and the deception double. True, she falsely
trifled with his love ; but he, perhaps, was only
trifling with her vanity. The insolence of his late
mimicry, and the odium of her own position as she
THE PRINCE DELIVERS
sat and watched it, lay besides like a load upon her
conscience. She met Otto almost with a sense of
guilt, and yet she welcomed him as a deliverer from
But the wheels of an interview are at the mercy
of a thousand ruts ; and even at Otto's entrance the
first jolt occurred. Gondremark, he saw, was gone;
but there was the chair drawn close for consultation ;
and it pained him not only that this man had been
received, but that he should depart with such an air
of secrecy. Struggling with this twinge, it was
somewhat sharply that he dismissed the attendant
who had brought him in.
' You make yourself at home, chez moi? she said,
a little ruffled both by his tone of command and by
the glance he had thrown upon the chair.
' Madam,' replied Otto, ' I am here so seldom that
I have almost the rights of a stranger.'
'You choose your own associates, Frederic,' she
' I am here to speak of it,' he returned. * It is
now four years since we were married; and these four
years, Seraphina, have not perhaps been happy either
for you or for me. I am well aware I was unsuit-
able to be your husband. I was not young, I had
no ambition, I was a trifler ; and you despised me, I
dare not say unjustly. But to do justice on both
sides, you must bear in mind how I have acted.
When I found it amused you to play the part of
Princess on this little stage, did I not immediately
resign to you my box of toys, this Griinewald?
A LECTURE ON MARRIAGE
And when I found I was distasteful as a husband,
could any husband have been less intrusive ? You
will tell me that I have no feelings, no preference,
and thus no credit ; that I go before the wind ; that
all this was in my character. And indeed, one thing
is true, — that it is easy, too easy, to leave things un-
done. But, Seraphina, I begin to learn it is not
always wise. If I were too old and too uncongenial
for your husband, I should still have remembered
that I was the Prince of that country to which you
came, a visitor and a child. In that relation also
there were duties, and these duties I have not
To claim the advantage of superior age is to give
sure offence. * Duty ! ' laughed Seraphina, ' and on
your lips, Frederic ! You make me laugh. What
fancy is this ? Go, flirt with the maids and be a
prince in Dresden china, as you look. Enjoy your-
self, mon enfant, and leave duty and the state to us.'
The plural grated on the Prince. ' I have enjoyed
myself too much,' he said, 'since enjoyment is the
word. And yet there were much to say upon the
other side. You must suppose me desperately fond
of hunting. But indeed there were days when I
found a great deal of interest in what it was courtesy
to call my government. And I have always had
some claim to taste ; I could tell live happiness from
dull routine ; and between hunting, and the throne
of Austria, and your society, my choice had never
wavered, had the choice been mine. You were a
girl, a bud, when you were given me '
THE PRINCE DELIVERS
* Heavens ! ' she cried, ' is this to be a love-scene ? '
' I am never ridiculous,' he said ; ' it is my only
merit ; and you may be certain this shall be a scene
of marriage d la mode. But when I remember the
beginning, it is bare courtesy to speak in sorrow.
Be just, madam : you would think me strangely
uncivil to recall these days without the decency
of a regret. Be yet a little juster, and own, if
only in complaisance, that you yourself regret that
'I have nothing to regret,' said the Princess.
* You surprise me. I thought you were so happy.'
' Happy and happy, there are so many hundred
ways,' said Otto. ' A man may be happy in revolt ;
he may be happy in sleep ; wine, change, and travel
make him happy ; virtue, they say, will do the like
— I have not tried ; and they say also that in old,
quiet, and habitual marriages there is yet an other
happiness. Happy, yes ; I am happy if you like ;
but I will tell you frankly, I was happier when I
brought you home.'
'Well,' said the Princess, not without constraint,
' it seems you changed your mind.'
' Not I,' returned Otto, ' I never changed. Do
you remember, Seraphina, on our way home, when
you saw the roses in the lane, and I got out and
plucked them ? It was a narrow lane between great
trees ; the sunset at the end was all gold, and the
rooks were flying overhead. There were nine, nine
red roses ; you gave me a kiss for each, and I told
myself that every rose and every kiss should stand
A LECTURE ON MAKRIAGE
for a year of love. Well, in eighteen months there
was an end. But do you fancy, Seraphina, that my
heart has altered ? '
'I am sure I cannot tell,' she said, like an
' It has not,' the Prince continued. ' There is
nothing ridiculous, even from a husband, in a love
that owns itself unhappy and that asks no more. I
built on sand ; pardon me, I do not breathe a re-
proach — I built, I suppose, upon my own infirmities ;
but I put my heart in the building, and it still lies
among the ruins.'
' How very poetical ! ' she said, with a little chok-
ing laugh, unknown relen tings, unfamiliar softnesses,
moving within her. * What would you be at ? ' she
added, hardening her voice.
' I would be at this,' he answered ; ' and hard it is
to say. I would be at this : — Seraphina, I am your
husband after all, and a poor fool that loves you.
Understand,' he cried almost fiercely, ' I am no sup-
pliant husband ; what your love refuses I would
scorn to receive from your pity. I do not ask, I
would not take it. And for jealousy, what ground
have I ? A dog-in-the-manger jealousy is a thing
the dogs may laugh at. But at least, in the world's
eye, I am still your husband ; and I ask you if you
treat me fairly ? I keep to myself, I leave you free,
I have given you in everything your will. What
do you in return ? I find, Seraphina, that you have
been too thoughtless. But between persons such as
we are, in our conspicuous station, particular care
THE PRINCE DELIVERS
and a particular courtesy are owing. Scandal is per-
haps not easy to avoid ; but it is hard to bear.'
* Scandal ! ' she cried, with a deep breath. ' Scan-
dal ! It is for this you have been driving ! '
' I have tried to tell you how I feel,' he replied.
4 1 have told you that I love you — love you in vain
— a bitter thing for a husband ; I have laid myself
open that I might speak without offence. And now
that I have begun, I will go on and finish.'
' I demand it,' she said. ' What is this about ? '
Otto flushed crimson. ' I have to say what I
would fain not,' he answered. ' I counsel you to
see less of Gondremark.'
* Of Gondremark ? And why ? ' she asked.
' Your intimacy is the ground of scandal, madam,'
said Otto, firmly enough — ' of a scandal that is
agony to me, and would be crushing to your parents
if they knew it.'
* You are the first to bring me word of it,' said
she. ' I thank you.'
' You have perhaps cause,' he replied. ' Perhaps
I am the only one among your friends '
' O, leave my friends alone,' she interrupted.
6 My friends are of a different stamp. You have
come to me here and made a parade of sentiment.
When have I last seen you ? I have governed your
kingdom for you in the meanwhile, and there I got
no help. At last, when I am weary with a man's
work, and you are weary of your playthings, you
return to make me a scene of conjugal reproaches —
the grocer and his wife ! The positions are too much
A LECTURE ON MARRIAGE
reversed ; and you should understand, at least, that
I cannot at the same time do your work of govern-
ment and behave myself like a little girl. Scandal
is the atmosphere in which we live, we princes ; it
is what a prince should know. You play an odious
part. Do you believe this rumour ? '
' Madam, should I be here ? ' said Otto.
' It is what I want to know ! ' she cried, the tem-
pest of her scorn increasing. * Suppose you did — I
say, suppose you did believe it ? '
' I should make it my business to suppose the
contrary,' he answered.
' I thought so. O, you are made of baseness ! '
' Madam,' he cried, roused at last, * enough of this.
You wilfully misunderstand my attitude ; you out-
wear my patience. In the name of your parents,
in my own name, I summon you to be more cir-
' Is this a request, monsieur mon mari ? ' she
' Madam, if I choose, I might command,' said
* You might, sir, as the law stands, make me
prisoner,' returned Seraphina. ' Short of that you
will gain nothing.'
' You will continue as before ? ' he asked.
' Precisely as before,' said she. ' As soon as this
comedy is over, I shall request the Freiherr von
Gondremark to visit me. Do you understand ? ' she
added, rising. ' For my part, I have done.'
THE PRINCE DELIVERS
f I will then ask the favour of your hand, madam,'
said Otto, palpitating in every pulse with anger.
' I have to request that you will visit in my
society another part of my poor house. And re-
assure yourself — it will not take long — and it is the
last obligation that you shall have the chance to lay
< The last ? ' she cried. ' Most joyfully ! '
She offered her hand, and he took it ; on each side
with an elaborate affectation, each inwardly incan-
descent. He led her out by the private door, follow-
ing where Gondremark had passed ; they threaded
a corridor or two, little frequented, looking on a
court, until they came at last into the Prince's suite.
The first room was an armoury, hung all about with
the weapons of various countries, and looking forth
on the front terrace.
' Have you brought me here to slay me ? ' she
' I have brought you, madam, only to pass on,'
Next they came to a library, where an old
chamberlain sat half-asleep. He rose and bowed
before the princely couple, asking for orders.
' You will attend us here,' said Otto.
The next stage was a gallery of pictures, where
Seraphina's portrait hung conspicuous, dressed for
the chase, red roses in her hair, as Otto, in the first
months of marriage, had directed. He pointed to it
without a word ; she raised her eyebrows in silence ;
and they passed still forward into a matted corridor
A LECTURE ON MARRIAGE
where four doors opened. One led to Otto's bed-
room ; one was the private door to Seraphina's.
And here, for the first time, Otto left her hand, and,
stepping forward, shot the bolt.
'It is long, madam,' said he, ' since it was bolted
on the other side.'
' One was effectual,' returned the Princess. ' Is
' Shall I reconduct you ? ' he asked, bowing.
' I should prefer,' she asked, in ringing tones, ' the
conduct of the Freiherr von Gondremark.'
Otto summoned the chamberlain. « If the Frei-
herr von Gondremark is in the palace,' he said, * bid
him attend the Princess here.' And when the official
had departed, 'Can I do more to serve you, madam ? '
the Prince asked.
' Thank you, no. I have been much amused,' she
* I have now,' continued Otto, ' given you your
liberty complete. This has been for you a miserable
' Miserable ! ' said she.
' It has been made light to you ; it shall be lighter
still,' continued the Prince. ' But one thing, madam,
you must still continue to bear — my father's name,
which is now yours. I leave it in your hands. Let
me see you, since you will have no advice of mine,
apply the more attention of your own to bear it
'Herr von Gondremark is long in coming,' she
9— h 113
THE PRINCE DELIVERS
* O Seraphina, Seraphina ! ' he cried. And that
was the end of their interview.
She tripped to a window and looked out ; and a
little after, the chamberlain announced the Freiherr
von Gondremark, who entered with something of a
wild eye and changed complexion, confounded, as he
was, at this unusual summons. The Princess faced
round from the window with a pearly smile ; nothing
but her heightened colour spoke of discomposure.
Otto was pale, but he was otherwise master of
* Herr von Gondremark,' said he, ' oblige me so
far : reconduct the Princess to her own apartment.'
The Baron, still all at sea, offered his hand, which
was smilingly accepted, and the pair sailed forth
through the picture-gallery.
As soon as they were gone, and Otto knew the
length and breadth of his miscarriage, and how he
had done the contrary of all that he intended, he
stood stupefied. A fiasco so complete and sweeping
was laughable, even to himself; and he laughed
aloud in his wrath. Upon this mood there followed
the sharpest violence of remorse ; and to that again,
as he recalled his provocation, anger succeeded
afresh. So he was tossed in spirit; now bewailing
his inconsequence and lack of temper, now flaming
up in white-hot indignation and a noble pity for
He paced his apartment like a leopard. There
was danger in Otto, for a flash. Like a pistol, he
could kill at one moment, and the next he might be
A LECTURE ON MARRIAGE
kicked aside. But just then, as he walked the long
floors in his alternate humours, tearing his hand-
kerchief between his hands, he was strung to his
top note, every nerve attent. The pistol, you might
say, was charged. And when jealousy from time to
time fetched him a lash across the tenderest of his
feeling, and sent a string of her fire-pictures glancing
before his mind's eye, the contraction of his face
was even dangerous. He disregarded jealousy's in-
ventions, yet they stung. In this height of anger,
he still preserved his faith in Seraphina's innocence ;
but the thought of her possible misconduct was the
bitterest ingredient in his pot of sorrow.
There came a knock at the door, and the cham-
berlain brought him a note. He took it and ground
it in his hand, continuing his march, continuing his
bewildered thoughts ; and some minutes had gone
by before the circumstance came clearly to his mind.
Then he paused and opened it. It was a pencil
scratch from Gotthold, thus conceived :
6 The council is privately summoned at once.
<G. v. H.'
If the council was thus called before the hour,
and that privately, it was plain they feared his
interference. Feared : here was a sweet thought.
Gotthold, too — Gotthold, who had always used and
regarded him as a mere peasant lad, had now been
at the pains to warn him ; Gotthold looked for
something at his hands. Well, none should be dis-
A LECTURE ON MARRIAGE
appointed ; the Prince, too long beshadowed by the
uxorious lover, should now return and shine. He
summoned his valet, repaired the disorder of his
appearance with elaborate care ; and then, curled
and scented and adorned, Prince Charming in every
line, but with a twitching nostril, he set forth un-
attended for the council.
THE PRINCE DISSOLVES THE COUNCIL
It was as Gotthold wrote. The liberation of Sir
John, Greisengesang's uneasy narrative, last of all,
the scene between Seraphina and the Prince, had
decided the conspirators to take a step of bold
timidity. There had been a period of bustle, liveried
messengers speeding here and there with notes ; and
at half-past ten in the morning, about an hour before
its usual hour, the council of Griinewald sat around
It was not a large body. At the instance of
Gondremark, it had undergone a strict purgation,
and was now composed exclusively of tools. Three
secretaries sat at a side-table. Seraphina took the
head; on her right was the Baron, on her left
Greisengesang ; below these Grafinski the treasurer,
Count Eisenthal, a couple of non-combatants, and,
to the surprise of all, Gotthold. He had been named
a privy councillor by Otto, merely that he might
profit by the salary; and as he was never known
to attend a meeting, it had occurred to nobody to
cancel his appointment. His present appearance
was the more ominous, coming when it did. Gond-
remark scowled upon him ; and the non-combatant
on his right, intercepting this black look, edged
away from one who was so clearly out of favour. ■
' The hour presses, your Highness,' said the Baron ;
' may we proceed to business ? '
' At once,' replied Seraphina.
' Your Highness will pardon me,' said Gotthold ;
'but you are still, perhaps, unacquainted with the
fact that Prince Otto has returned.'
' The Prince will not attend the council,' replied
Seraphina, with a momentary blush. — 'The despatches,
Herr Cancellarius ? There is one for Gerolstein ? '
A secretary brought a paper.
' Here, madam,' said Greisengesang. ' Shall I
read it ? '
'We are all familiar with its terms,' replied
Gondremark. ' Your Highness approves ? '
' Unhesitatingly,' said Seraphina.
'It may then be held as read,' concluded the
Baron. ' Will your Highness sign ? '
The Princess did so ; Gondremark, Eisenthal, and
one of the non-combatants followed suit ; and the
paper was then passed across the table to the
librarian. He proceeded leisurely to read.
' We have no time to spare, Herr Doctor,' cried
the Baron brutally. ' If you do not choose to sign
on the authority of your sovereign, pass it on. Or
you may leave the table,' he added, his temper
' I decline your invitation, Herr von Gondremark ;
DISSOLVES THE COUNCIL
and my sovereign, as I continue to observe with
regret, is still absent from the board,' replied the
Doctor calmly ; and he resumed the perusal of the
paper, the rest chafing and exchanging glances.
'Madam and gentlemen,' he said at last, 'what I
hold in my hand is simply a declaration of war.'
' Simply,' said Seraphina, flashing defiance.
' The sovereign of this country is under the same
roof with us,' continued Gotthold, ' and I insist he
shall be summoned. It is needless to adduce my
reasons ; you are all ashamed at heart of this pro-
The council waved like a sea. There were various
' You insult the Princess,' thundered Gondremark.
' I maintain my protest,' replied Gotthold.
At the height of this confusion the door was
thrown open ; an usher announced, ' Gentlemen, the
Prince ! ' and Otto, with his most excellent bearing,
entered the apartment. It was like oil upon the
troubled waters; every one settled instantly into
his place, and Greisengesang, to give himself a
countenance, became absorbed in the arrangement
of his papers; but in their eagerness to dissemble
one and all neglected to rise.
' Gentlemen,' said the Prince, pausing.
They all got to their feet in a moment ; and this
reproof still further demoralised the weaker brethren.
The Prince moved slowly towards the lower end
of the table ; then he paused again, and, fixing his
eye on Greisengesang, ' How comes it, Herr Can-
cellarius,' he asked, ' that I have received no notice
of the change of hour ? '
'Your Highness,' replied the Chancellor, 'her
Highness the Princess . . .' and there paused.
'I understood,' said Seraphina, taking him up,
'that you did not purpose to be present.'
Their eyes met for a second, and Seraphina's fell ;
but her anger only burned the brighter for that
' And now, gentlemen,' said Otto, taking his chair,
' I pray you to be seated. I have been absent ; there
are doubtless some arrears ; but ere we proceed to
business, Herr Grafinski, you will direct four thou-
sand crowns to be sent to me at once. Make a
note, if you please,' he added, as the treasurer still
stared in wonder.
' Four thousand crowns ? ' asked Seraphina. ' Pray,
for what ? '
'Madam,' returned Otto, smiling, 'for my own
Gondremark spurred up Grafinski underneath the
'If your Highness will indicate the destina-
tion . . .' began the puppet.
' You are not here, sir, to interrogate your Prince,'
Grafinski looked for help to his commander ; and
Gondremark came to his aid, in suave and measured
' Your Highness may reasonably be surprised,' he
said ; ' and Herr Grafinski, although I am convinced
DISSOLVES THE COUNCIL
he is clear of the intention of offending, would have
perhaps done better to begin with an explanation.
The resources of the state are at the present moment
entirely swallowed up, or, as we hope to prove,
wisely invested. In a month from now, I do not
question we shall be able to meet any command
your Highness may lay upon us; but at this hour
I fear that, even in so small a matter, he must
prepare himself for disappointment. Our zeal is no
less, although our power may be inadequate.'
'How much, Herr Graflnski, have we in the
treasury ? ' asked Otto.
'Your Highness,' protested the treasurer, 'we
have immediate need of every crown.'
' I think, sir, you evade me,' flashed the Prince ;
and then, turning to the side-table, 'Mr. Secretary,'
he added, 'bring me, if you please, the treasury
Herr Graflnski became deadly pale ; the chancellor,
expecting his own turn, was probably engaged in
prayer ; Gondremark was watching like a ponderous
cat. Gotthold, on his part, looked on with wonder
at his cousin ; he was certainly showing spirit, but
what, in such a time of gravity, was all this talk of
money ? and why should he waste his strength upon
a personal issue ?
' I find,' said Otto, with his finger on the docket,
' that we have 20,000 crowns in case.'
' That is exact, your Highness,' replied the Baron.
'But our liabilities, all of which are happily not
liquid, amount to a far larger sum; and at the
present point of time it would be morally impossible
to divert a single florin. Essentially, the case is
empty. We have, already presented, a large note
for material of war.'
'Material of war?' exclaimed Otto, with an excellent
assumption of surprise. ' But if my memory serves
me right, we settled these accounts in January.'
'There have been further orders,' the Baron ex-
plained. ' A new park of artillery has been completed ;
five hundred stand of arms, seven hundred baggage-
mules — the details are in a special memorandum.
— Mr. Secretary Holtz, the memorandum, if you
' One would think, gentlemen, that we were going
to war,' said Otto.
' We are,' said Seraphina.
1 War ! ' cried the Prince. ' And, gentlemen, with
whom ? The peace of Griinewald has endured for
centuries. What aggression, what insult have we
suffered ? '
' Here, your Highness,' said Gotthold, ' is the
ultimatum. It was in the very article of signature,
when your Highness so opportunely entered.'
Otto laid the paper before him ; as he read, his
fingers played tattoo upon the table. 'Was it
proposed,' he inquired, 'to send this paper forth
without a knowledge of my pleasure ? '
One of the non-combatants, eager to trim, volun-
teered an answer. ' The Herr Doctor von Hohen-
stockwitz had just entered his dissent,' he added.
' Give me the rest of this correspondence,' said
DISSOLVES THE COUNCIL
the Prince. It was handed to him, and he read it
patiently from end to end, while the councillors sat
foolishly enough looking before them on the table.
The secretaries, in the background, were exchanging
glances of delight; a row at the council was for
them a rare and welcome feature.
* Gentlemen,' said Otto, when he had finished, ' I
have read with pain. This claim upon Obermiinsterol
is palpably unjust ; it has not a tincture, not a show,
of justice. There is not in all this ground enough
for after-dinner talk, and you propose to force it as
a casus belli.'
' Certainly, your Highness,' returned Gondremark,
too wise to defend the indefensible, 'the claim on
Obermiinsterol is simply a pretext.'
' It is well,' said the Prince. ' Herr Cancellarius,
take your pen. " The council," ' he began to dictate
— ' I withhold all notice of my intervention,' he said
in parenthesis, and addressing himself more directly
to his wife ; • and I say nothing of the strange sup-
pression by which this business has been smuggled
past my knowledge. I am content to be in time —
"The council,"' he resumed, '"on a further ex-
amination of the facts, and enlightened by the note
in the last despatch from Gerolstein, have the plea-
sure to announce that they are entirely at one, both
as to fact and sentiment, with the Grand-Ducal
Court of Gerolstein." You have it? Upon these
lines, sir, you will draw up the despatch.'
' If your Highness will allow me,' said the Baron,
'your Highness is so imperfectly acquainted with
the internal history of this correspondence, that any
interference will be merely hurtful. Such a paper
as your Highness proposes would be to stultify the
whole previous policy of Griinewald.'
' The policy of Griinewald ! ' cried the Prince.
' One would suppose you had no sense of humour !
Would you fish in a coffee cup ? '
'With deference, your Highness,' returned the
Baron, * even in a coffee cup there may be poison.
The purpose of this war is not simply territorial
enlargement; still less is it a war of glory; for, as
your Highness indicates, the state of Griinewald
is too small to be ambitious. But the body politic
is seriously diseased ; republicanism, socialism, many
disintegrating ideas are abroad ; circle within circle,
a really formidable organisation has grown up about
your Highness's throne.'
' I have heard of it, Herr von Gondremark,' put in
the Prince ; ' but I have reason to be aware that
yours is the more authoritative information.'
i I am honoured by this expression of my Prince's
confidence,' returned Gondremark, unabashed. * It
is, therefore, with a single eye to these disorders
that our present external policy has been shaped.
Something was required to divert public attention,
to employ the idle, to popularise your Highness's
rule, and, if it were possible, to enable him to reduce
the taxes at a blow and to a notable amount. The
proposed expedition — for it cannot without hyperbole
be called a war — seemed to the council to combine
the various characters required ; a marked improve-
DISSOLVES THE COUNCIL
ment in the public sentiment has followed even
upon our preparations ; and I cannot doubt that
when success shall follow, the effect will surpass
even our boldest hopes.'
' You are very adroit, Herr von Gondremark,' said
Otto. 'You fill me with admiration. I had not
heretofore done justice to your qualities.'
Seraphina looked up with joy, supposing Otto
conquered ; but Gondremark still waited, armed at
every point; he knew how very stubborn is the
revolt of a weak character.
• And the territorial army scheme, to which I was
persuaded to consent — was it secretly directed to
the same end ? ' the Prince asked.
' I still believe the effect to have been good,'
replied the Baron ; ' discipline and mounting guard
are excellent sedatives. But I will avow to your
Highness, I was unaware, at the date of that decree,
of the magnitude of the revolutionary movement ;
nor did any of us, I think, imagine that such a
territorial army was a part of the republican pro-
' It was ? ' asked Otto. * Strange ! Upon what
fancied grounds ? '
* The grounds were indeed fanciful,' returned the
Baron. * It was conceived among the leaders that a
territorial army, drawn from and returning to the
people, would, in the event of any popular uprising,
prove lukewarm or unfaithful to the throne.'
' I see,' said the Prince. ' I begin to understand.'
' His Highness begins to understand ? ' repeated
Gondremark, with the sweetest politeness. ' May I
beg of him to complete the phrase ? '
' The history of the revolution,' replied Otto drily.
' And now,' he added, ' what do you conclude ? '
' I conclude, your Highness, with a simple reflec-
tion,' said the Baron, accepting the stab without a
quiver, 'the war is popular; were the rumour con-
tradicted to-morrow, a considerable disappointment
would be felt in many classes ; and in the present
tension of spirits, the most lukewarm sentiment may
be enough to precipitate events. There lies the
danger. The revolution hangs imminent ; we sit, at
this council board, below the sword of Damocles.'
' We must then lay our heads together,' said the
Prince, 'and devise some honourable means of
Up to this moment, since the first note of opposi-
tion fell from the librarian, Seraphina had uttered
about twenty words. With a somewhat heightened
colour, her eyes generally lowered, her foot some-
times nervously tapping on the floor, she had kept
her own counsel and commanded her anger like a
hero. But at this stage of the engagement she lost
control of her impatience.
' Means ! ' she cried. * They have been found and
prepared before you knew the need for them. Sign
the despatch, and let us be done with this delay.'
'Madam, I said "honourable,"' returned Otto,
bowing. ' This war is, in my eyes, and by Herr von
Gondremark's account, an inadmissible expedient.
If we have misgoverned here in Griinewald, are the
DISSOLVES THE COUNCIL
people of Gerolstein to bleed and pay for our mis-
doings ? Never, madam ; not while I live. But I
attach so much importance to all that I have heard
to-day for the first time — and why only to-day I do
not even stop to ask — that I am eager to find some
plan that I can follow with credit to myself.'
* And should you fail ? ' she asked.
'Should I fail, I will then meet the blow half-
way,' replied the Prince. ' On the first open dis-
content, I shall convoke the States, and, when it
pleases them to bid me, abdicate.'
Seraphina laughed angrily. ' This is the man for
whom we have been labouring ! ' she cried. • We
tell him of change ; he will devise the means, he
says ; and his device is abdication ? Sir, have you
no shame to come here at the eleventh hour among
those who have borne the heat and burthen of the
day? Do you not wonder at yourself? I, sir, was
here in my place, striving to uphold your dignity
alone. I took counsel with the wisest I could find,
while you were eating and hunting. I have laid my
plans with foresight ; they were ripe for action ; and
then — ' she choked — 'then you return — for a fore-
noon — to ruin all ! To-morrow you will be once
more about your pleasures ; you will give us leave
once more to think and work for you ; and again
you will come back, and again you will thwart what
you had not the industry or knowledge to conceive.
O ! it is intolerable. Be modest, sir. Do not
presume upon the rank you cannot worthily uphold.
I would not issue my commands with so much
THE PRINCE DISSOLVES THE COUNCIL
gusto — it is from no merit in yourself they are
obeyed. What are you ? What have you to do
in this grave council? Go,' she cried, 'go among
your equals ! The very people in the streets mock
at you for a prince.'
; At this surprising outburst the whole council sat
* Madam,' said the Baron, alarmed out of his
caution, 'command yourself.'
' Address yourself to me, sir ! ' cried the Prince. ' I
will not bear these whisperings ! '
Seraphina burst into tears.
'Sir,' cried the Baron, rising, 'this lady .'
' Herr von Gondremark,' said the Prince, ' one
more observation, and I place you under arrest.'
'Your Highness is the master,' replied Gondre-
' Bear it in mind more constantly,' said Otto.
— ' Herr Cancellarius, bring all the papers to my
cabinet. Gentlemen, the council is dissolved.'
And he bowed and left the apartment, followed by
Greisengesang and the secretaries, just at the moment
when the Princess's ladies, summoned in all haste,
entered by another door to help her forth.
THE PARTY OF WAR TAKES ACTION
Half an hour after, Gondremark was once more
closeted with Seraphina.
' Where is he now ? ' she asked, on his arrival.
* Madam, he is with the Chancellor,' replied the
Baron. ' Wonder of wonders, he is at work ! '
* Ah,' she said, 'he was born to torture me! O
what a fall, what a humiliation ! Such a scheme to
wreck upon so small a trifle ! But now all is lost.'
'Madam,' said Gondremark, ' nothing is lost.
Something, on the other hand, is found. You have
found your senses ; you see him as he is — see him as
you see everything where your too-good heart is not
in question — with the judicial, with the statesman's
eye. So long as he had a right to interfere, the
empire that may be was still distant. I have not
entered on this course without the plain foresight of
its dangers ; and even for this I was prepared. But,
madam, I knew two things : I knew that you were
born to command, that I was born to serve ; I knew
that by a rare conjuncture the hand had found the
THE PARTY OF WAR
tool ; and from the first I was confident, as I am
confident to-day, that no hereditary trifler has the
power to shatter that alliance.'
' I, born to command ! ' she said. ' Do you forget
my tears ? '
4 Madam, they were the tears of Alexander,' cried
the Baron. ' They touched, they thrilled me ; I for-
got myself a moment — even I ! But do you suppose
that I had not remarked, that I had not admired,
your previous bearing ? your great self-command ?
Ay, that was princely ! ' He paused. ' It was a
thing to see. I drank confidence ! I tried to imitate
your calm. And I was well inspired ; in my heart,
I think that I was well inspired ; that any man,
within the reach of argument, had been convinced !
But it was not to be ; nor, m%dam, do I regret the
failure. Let us be open ; let me disclose my heart.
I have loved two things, not unworthily : Griinewald
and my sovereign ! ' Here he kissed her hand.
' Either I must resign my ministry, leave the land of
my adoption and the queen whom I had chosen to
obey — or .' He paused again.
'Alas, Herr von Gondremark, there is no "or,"'
' Nay, madam, give me time,' he replied. ' When
first I saw you, you were still young ; not every man
would have remarked your powers ; but I had not
been twice honoured by your conversation ere I had
found my mistress. I have, madam, I believe, some
genius ; and I have much ambition. But the genius
is of the serving kind ; and to offer a career to my
ambition, I had to find one born to rule. This is the
base and essence of our union ; each had need of the
other ; each recognised, master and servant, lever
and fulcrum, the complement of his endowment.
Marriages, they say, are made in heaven : how much
more these pure, laborious, intellectual fellowships,
born to found empires ! Nor is this all. We found
each other ripe, filled with great ideas that took
shape and clarified with every word. We grew
together — ay, madam, in mind we grew together like
twin children. All of my life until we met was petty
and groping ; was it not — I will flatter myself openly
— it was the same with you ! Not till then had you
those eagle surveys, that wide and hopeful sweep of
intuition ! Thus we had formed ourselves, and we
' It is true,' she cried. ' I feel it. Yours is the
genius ; your generosity confounds your insight ; all
I could offer you was the position, was this throne,
to be a fulcrum. But I offered it without reserve ;
I entered at least warmly into all your thoughts ; you
were sure of me — sure of my support — certain of
justice. Tell me, tell me again, that I have helped
' Nay, madam,' he said, 'you made me. In every-
thing you were my inspiration. And as we prepared
our policy, weighing every step, how often have I had
to admire your perspicacity, your man-like diligence
and fortitude ! You know that these are not the words
of flattery ; your conscience echoes them ; have you
spared a day ? have you indulged yourself in any
THE PARTY OF WAR
pleasure ? Young and beautiful, you have lived a life
of high intellectual effort, of irksome intellectual
patience with details. Well, you have your reward :
with the fall of Brandenau the throne of your
Empire is founded.'
' What thought have you in your mind ? ' she
asked. * Is not all ruined ? '
* Nay, my Princess, the same thought is in both
our minds,' he said.
' Herr von Gondremark,' she replied, ' by all that
I hold sacred, I have none ; I do not think at all ; I
' You are looking at the passionate side of a rich
nature, misunderstood and recently insulted,' said the
Baron. ' Look into your intellect, and tell me.'
' I find nothing, nothing but tumult,' she replied.
'You find one word branded, madam,' returned
the Baron : ' " Abdication ! " '
' O ! ' she cried. ' The coward ! He leaves me to
bear all, and in the hour of trial he stabs me from
behind. There is nothing in him, not respect, not
love, not courage — his wife, his dignity, his throne,
the honour of his father, he forgets them all ! '
' Yes,' pursued the Baron, ' the word Abdication.
I perceive a glimmering there.'
' I read your fancy,' she returned. ' It is mere
madness, midsummer madness. Baron, I am more
unpopular than he. You know it. They can excuse,
they can love, his weakness ; but me, they hate.'
f Such is the gratitude of peoples,' said the Baron.
* But we trifle. Here, madam, are my plain thoughts.
The man who in the hour of danger speaks of abdica-
tion is, for me, a venomous animal. I speak with the
bluntness of gravity, madam ; this is no hour for
mincing. The coward, in a station of authority, is
more dangerous than fire. We dwell on a volcano ;
if this man can have his way, Griinewald before a
week will have been deluged with innocent blood.
You know the truth of what I say ; we have looked
unblenching into this ever-possible catastrophe. To
him it is nothing : he will abdicate ! Abdicate, just
God ! and this unhappy country committed to his
charge, and the lives of men and the honour of
women . . .' His voice appeared to fail him ; in an
instant he had conquered his emotion and resumed :
' But you, madam, conceive more worthily of your
responsibilities. I am with you in the thought ; and
in the face of the horrors that I see impending, I say,
and your heart repeats it — we have gone too far to
pause. Honour, duty, ay, and the care of our own
lives, demand we should proceed.'
She was looking at him, her brow thoughtfully
knitted. * I feel it,' she said. ' But how ? He has
' The power, madam ? The power is in the army,'
he replied ; and then hastily, ere she could intervene,
' we have to save ourselves/ he went on ; ' I have to
save my Princess, she has to save her minister ; we
have both of us to save this infatuated youth from
his own madness. He in the outbreak would be the
earliest victim ; I see him,' he cried, ' torn in pieces ;
and Griinewald, unhappy Griinewald ! Nay, madam,
THE PARTY OF WAR
you who have the power must use it ; it lies hard
upon your conscience.'
' Show me how ! ' she cried. ' Suppose I were to
place him under some constraint, the revolution
would break upon us instantly.'
The Baron feigned defeat. 'It is true,' he said.
' You see more clearly than I do. Yet there should,
there must be, some way.' And he waited for his
' No,' she said ; ' I told you from the first there is
no remedy. Our hopes are lost : lost by one miser-
able trifler, ignorant, fretful, fitful — who will have
disappeared to-morrow, who knows ? to his boorish
pleasures ! '
Any peg would do for Gondremark. ' The thing ! '
he cried, striking his brow. ■ Fool, not to have
thought of it ! Madam, without perhaps knowing it,
you have solved our problem.'
* What do you mean ? Speak ! ' she said.
He appeared to collect himself ; and then, with a
smile, ' The Prince,' he said, ' must go once more
' Ay, if he would ! ' cried she, ' and stay there ! '
' And stay there,' echoed the Baron. It was so
significantly said, that her face changed ; and the
schemer, fearful of the sinister ambiguity of his ex-
pressions, hastened to explain. ' This time he shall
go hunting in a carriage, with a good escort of our
foreign lancers. His destination shall be the Felsen-
burg ; it is healthy, the rock is high, the windows are
small and barred ; it might have been built on pur-
pose. We shall intrust the captaincy to the Scots-
man Gordon ; he at least will have no scruple. Who
will miss the sovereign ? He is gone hunting ; he
came home on Tuesday, on Thursday he returned ;
all is usual in that. Meanwhile the war proceeds ;
our Prince will soon weary of his solitude ; and
about the time of our triumph, or, if he prove very
obstinate, a little later, he shall be released upon a
proper understanding, and I see him once more
directing his theatricals.'
Seraphina sat gloomy, plunged in thought. i Yes,'
she said suddenly, * and the despatch ? He is now
' It cannot pass the council before Friday,' re-
plied Gondremark ; * and as for any private note,
the messengers are all at my disposal. They are
picked men, madam. I am a person of precau-
' It would appear so,' she said, with a flash of her
occasional repugnance to the man ; and then after a
pause, ' Herr von Gondremark,' she added, ' I recoil
from this extremity.'
' I share your Highness's repugnance,' answered
he. ' But what would you have ? We are defence-
' I see it, but this is sudden. It is a public crime,'
she said, nodding at him with a sort of horror.
' Look but a little deeper,' he returned, ' and whose
is the crime ? '
' His ! ' she cried. ' His, before God ! And I hold
him liable. But still '
THE PARTY OF WAR
' It is not as if he would be harmed/ submitted
' I know it,' she replied, but it was still unheartily.
And then, as brave men are entitled, by prescrip-
tive right as old as the world's history, to the alliance
and the active help of Fortune, the punctual goddess
stepped down from the machine. One of the Prin-
cess's ladies begged to enter ; a man, it appeared, had
brought a line for the Freiherr von Gondremark. It
proved to be a pencil billet, which the crafty Greisen-
gesang had found the means to scribble and despatch
under the very guns of Otto ; and the daring of the
act bore testimony to the terror of the actor. For
Greisengesang had but one influential motive : fear.
The note ran thus : ' At the first council, procuration
to be withdrawn. — Corn. Greis.'
So, after three years of exercise, the right of
signature was to be stript from Seraphina. It was
more than an insult ; it was a public disgrace ; and
she did not pause to consider how she had earned it,
but morally bounded under the attack as bounds the
' Enough,' she said ; ' I will sign the order. When
shall he leave ? '
* It will take me twelve hours to collect my men,
and it had best be done at night. To-morrow mid-
night, if you please ? ' answered the Baron.
* Excellent,' she said. ' My door is always open to
you, Baron. As soon as the order is prepared, bring
it me to sign.'
' Madam,' he said, ' alone of all of us you do not
risk your head in this adventure. For that reason,
and to prevent all hesitation, I venture to propose
the order should be in your hand throughout.'
* You are right,' she replied.
He laid a form before her, and she wrote the order
in a clear hand, and re-read it. Suddenly a cruel
smile came on her face. ' I had forgotten his puppet,'
said she. ' They will keep each other company. '
And she interlined and initialed the condemnation
of Doctor Gotthold.
'Your Highness has more memory than your
servant,' said the Baron ; and then he, in his turn,
carefully perused the fateful paper. * Good ! '
' You will appear in the drawing-room, Baron ? '
' I thought it better/ said he, ' to avoid the possi-
bility of a public affront. Anything that shook my
credit might hamper us in the immediate future.'
' You are right,' she said ; and she held out her
hand as to an old friend and equal.
THE PRICE OF THE RIVER FARM ; IN WHICH VAIN-
GLORY GOES BEFORE A FALL
The pistol had been practically fired. Under ordi-
nary circumstances the scene at the council table
would have entirely exhausted Otto's store both of
energy and anger ; he would have begun to examine
and condemn his conduct, have remembered all that
was true, forgotten all that was unjust in Seraphina's
onslaught ; and by half an hour after would have
fallen into that state of mind in which a Catholic
flees to the confessional and a sot takes refuge with
the bottle. Two matters of detail preserved his
spirits. For, first, he had still an infinity of business
to transact ; and to transact business, for a man of
Otto's neglectful and procrastinating habits, is the
best anodyne for conscience. All afternoon he was
hard at it with the Chancellor, reading, dictating,
signing, and despatching papers ; and this kept him
in a glow of self-approval. But, secondly, his vanity
was still alarmed ; he had failed to get the money ;
to-morrow before noon he would have to disappoint
VAINGLORY GOES BEFORE A FALL
old Killian ; and in the eyes of that family which
counted him so little, and to which he had sought
to play the part of the heroic comforter, he must
sink lower than at first. To a man of Otto's temper,
this was death. He could not accept the situation.
And even as he worked, and worked wisely and
well, over the hated details of his principality, he was
secretly maturing a plan by which to turn the situa-
tion. It was a scheme as pleasing to the man as it
was dishonourable in the prince; in which his frivolous
nature found and took vengeance for the gravity and
burthen of the afternoon. He chuckled as he
thought of it : and Greisengesang heard him with
wonder, and attributed his lively spirits to the
skirmish of the morning.
Led by this idea, the antique courtier ventured to
compliment his sovereign on his bearing. It reminded
him, he said, of Otto's father.
' What ? ' asked the Prince, whose thoughts were
* Your Highness's authority at the board,' explained
' O, that ! O yes,' returned Otto ; but for all his
carelessness, his vanity was delicately tickled, and his
mind returned and dwelt approvingly over the details
of his victory. ' I quelled them all,' he thought.
When the more pressing matters had been dis-
missed, it was already late, and Otto kept the
Chancellor to dinner, and was entertained with a
leash of ancient histories and modern compliments.
The Chancellor's career had been based, from the first
IN WHICH VAINGLORY
off-put, on entire subserviency ; he had crawled into
honours and employments ; and his mind was prosti-
tute. The instinct of the creature served him well
with Otto. First, he let fall a sneering word or two
upon the female intellect ; thence he proceeded to a
closer engagement ; and before the third course he
was artfully dissecting Seraphina's character to her
approving husband. Of course no names were used ;
and of course the identity of that abstract or ideal
man, with whom she was currently contrasted,
remained an open secret. But this stiff old gentle-
man had a wonderful instinct for evil, thus to wind
his way into man's citadel ; thus to harp by the hour
on the virtues of his hearer and not once alarm his
self-respect. Otto was all roseate, in and out, with
flattery and Tokay and an approving conscience. He
saw himself in the most attractive colours. If even
Greisengesang, he thought, could thus espy the loose
stitches in Seraphina's character, and thus disloyally
impart them to the opposite camp, he, the discarded
husband — the dispossessed Prince — could scarce have
erred on the side of severity.
In this excellent frame he bade adieu to the old
gentleman, whose voice had proved so musical, and
set forth for the drawing-room. Already on the stair,
he was seized with some compunction ; but when he
entered the great gallery and beheld his wife, the
Chancellor's abstract flatteries fell from him like rain,
and he re-awoke to the poetic facts of life. She stood
a good way off below a shining lustre, her back
turned. The bend of her waist overcame him with
GOES BEFORE A FALL
physical weakness. This was the girl-wife who had
lain in his arms and whom he had sworn to cherish ;
there was she, who was better than success.
It was Seraphina who restored him from the blow.
She swam forward and smiled upon her husband with
a sweetness that was insultingly artificial. ' Frederic,'
she lisped, ' you are late/ It was a scene of high
comedy, such as is proper to unhappy marriages ; and
her aplomb disgusted him.
There was no etiquette at these small drawing-
rooms. People came and went at pleasure. The
window embrasures became the roost of happy
couples ; at the great chimney the talkers mostly
congregated, each full-charged with scandal ; and
down at the farther end the gamblers gambled. It
was towards this point that Otto moved, not osten-
tatiously, but with a gentle insistence, and scattering
attentions as he went. Once abreast of the card-table,
he placed himself opposite to Madame von Rosen,
and, as soon as he had caught her eye, withdrew to
the embrasure of a window. There she had speedily
' You did well to call me,' she said, a little wildly.
' These cards will be my ruin. '
' Leave them,' said Otto.
' I ! ' she cried, and laughed ; ' they are my destiny.
My only chance was to die of consumption ; now I
must die in a garret.'
1 You are bitter to-night,' said Otto.
'I have been losing,' she replied. 'You do not
know what greed is.'
IN WHICH VAINGLORY
'I have come, then, in an evil hour,' said he.
' Ah, you wish a favour ! ' she cried, brightening
' Madam,' said he, ' I am about to found my party,
and I come to you for a recruit.'
' Done,' said the Countess. ' I am a man again.'
' I may be wrong,' continued Otto, ' but I believe
upon my heart you wish me no ill.'
' I wish you so well,' she said, 'that I dare not tell
* Then if I ask my favour ? ' quoth the Prince.
' Ask it, mon Prince? she answered. ' Whatever
it is, it is granted.'
'I wish you,' he returned, 'this very night to
make the farmer of our talk.'
6 Heaven knows your meaning ! ' she exclaimed.
' I know not, neither care ; there are no bounds to
my desire to please you. Call him made.'
' I will put it in another way,' returned Otto.
1 Did you ever steal ? '
' Often ! ' cried the Countess. ' I have broken all
the ten commandments ; and if there were more
to-morrow I should not sleep till I had broken
'This is a case of burglary: to say the truth, I
thought it would amuse you,' said the Prince.
6 1 have no practical experience,' she replied, ' but
O ! the good-will ! I have broken a work-box in
my time, and several hearts, my own included.
Never a house ! But it cannot be difficult; sins are
so unromantically easy ! What are we to break ? '
GOES BEFORE A FALL
' Madam, we are to break the treasury,' said Otto ;
and he sketched to her briefly, wittily, with here and
there a touch of pathos, the story of his visit to the
farm, of his promise to buy it, and of the refusal
with which his demand for money had been met
that morning at the council ; concluding with a few
practical words as to the treasury windows, and the
helps and hindrances of the proposed exploit.
* They refused you the money,' she said when he
had done. ' And you accepted the refusal ? Well ! '
' They gave their reasons,' replied Otto, colouring.
' They were not such as I could combat ; and I am
driven to dilapidate the funds of my own country by
a theft. It is not dignified ; but it is fun.'
'Fun,' she said; 'yes.' And then she remained
silently plunged in thought for an appreciable time.
' How much do you require ? ' she asked at length.
'Three thousand crowns will do,' he answered,
'for I have still some money of my own.'
' Excellent,' she said, regaining her levity. • I am
your true accomplice. And where are we to meet ? '
'You know the Flying Mercury,' he answered,
'in the Park? Three pathways intersect; there
they have made a seat and raised the statue. The
spot is handy and the deity congenial.'
' Child,' she said, and tapped him with her fan.
' But do you know, my Prince, you are an egoist —
your handy trysting-place is miles from me. You
must give me ample time ; I cannot, I think, pos-
sibly be there before two. But as the bell beats
two, your helper shall arrive : welcome, I trust.
IN WHICH VAINGLORY
Stay — do you bring any one ? ' she added. ' O, it is
not for a chaperon — I am not a prude ! '
' I shall bring a groom of mine,' said Otto. ' I
caught him stealing corn.'
' His name ? ' she asked.
'I profess I know not. I am not yet intimate
with my corn-stealer,' returned the Prince. ' It was
in a professional capacity '
'Like me! Flatterer!' she cried. 'But oblige
me in one thing. Let me find you waiting at the
seat — yes, you shall await me ; for on this expedi-
tion it shall be no longer Prince and Countess, it
shall be the lady and the squire — and your friend
the thief shall be no nearer than the fountain. Do
you promise ? '
' Madam, in everything you are to command ; you
shall be captain, I am but supercargo,' answered
' Well, Heaven bring all safe to port ! ' she said.
' It is not Friday ! '
Something in her manner had puzzled Otto, had
possibly touched him with suspicion.
'Is it not strange,' he remarked, 'that I should
choose my accomplice from the other camp ? '
' Fool ! ' she said. ' But it is your only wisdom
that you know your friends. ' And suddenly, in the
vantage of the deep window, she caught up his hand
and kissed it with a sort of passion. ' Now go,' she
added, ' go at once.'
He went, somewhat staggered, doubting in his
heart that he was over-bold. For in that moment
GOES BEFORE A FALL
she had flashed upon him like a jewel ; and even
through the strong panoply of a previous love he
had been conscious of a shock. Next moment he
had dismissed the fear.
Both Otto and the Countess retired early from
the drawing-room ; and the Prince, after an elaborate
feint, dismissed his valet and went forth by the
private passage and the back postern in quest of
Once more the stable was in darkness, once more
Otto employed the talismanic knock, and once more
the groom appeared and sickened with terror.
' Good-evening, friend,' said Otto pleasantly. ' I
want you to bring a corn sack — empty this time
— and to accompany me. We shall be gone all
' Your Highness,' groaned the man, ' I have the
charge of the small stables. I am here alone.'
' Come,' said the Prince, * you are no such martinet
in duty.' And then seeing that the man was
shaking from head to foot, Otto laid a hand upon
his shoulder. ' If I meant you harm,' he said,
' should I be here ? '
The fellow became instantly reassured. He got
the sack ; and Otto led him round by several paths
and avenues, conversing pleasantly by the way, and
left him at last planted by a certain fountain where
a goggle-eyed Triton spouted intermittently into a
rippling laver. Thence he proceeded alone to where,
in a round clearing, a copy of Gian Bologna's
Mercury stood tiptoe in the twilight of the stars.
IN WHICH VAINGLORY
The night was warm and windless. A shaving of
new moon had lately arisen ; but it was still too
small and too low down in heaven to contend with
the immense host of lesser luminaries ; and the
rough face of the earth was drenched with starlight.
Down one of the alleys, which widened as it re-
ceded, he could see a part of the lamplit terrace
where a sentry silently paced, and beyond that a
corner of the town with interlacing street-lights.
But all around him the young trees stood mystically
blurred in the dim shine ; and in the stock-still quiet-
ness the up-leaping god appeared alive.
In this dimness and silence of the night, Otto's
conscience became suddenly and staringly luminous,
like the dial of a city clock. He averted the eyes
of his mind, but the ringer, rapidly travelling, pointed
to a series of misdeeds that took his breath away.
What was he doing in that place ? The money had
been wrongly squandered, but that was largely by
his own neglect. And he now proposed to em-
barrass the finances of this country which he had
been too idle to govern. And he now proposed to
squander the money once again, and this time for a
private, if a generous end. And the man whom he
had reproved for stealing corn he was now to set
stealing treasure. And then there was Madame
von Rosen, upon whom he looked down with some
of that ill-favoured contempt of the chaste male for
the imperfect woman. Because he thought of her
as one degraded below scruples, he had picked her
out to be still more degraded, and to risk her whole
GOES BEFORE A FALL
irregular establishment in life by complicity in this
dishonourable act. It was uglier than a seduc-
Otto had to walk very briskly and whistle very
busily ; and when at last he heard steps in the
narrowest and darkest of the alleys, it was with a
gush of relief that he sprang to meet the Countess.
To wrestle alone with one's good angel is so hard !
and so precious, at the proper time, is a companion
certain to be less virtuous than oneself!
It was a young man who came towards him — a
young man of small stature and a peculiar gait, wear-
ing a wide flapping hat, and carrying, with great
weariness, a heavy bag. Otto recoiled ; but the
young man held up his hand by way of signal, and
coming up with a panting run, as if with the last of
his endurance, laid the bag upon the ground, threw
himself upon the bench, and disclosed the features
of Madame von Rosen.
' You, Countess ! ' cried the Prince.
'No, no,' she panted, 'the Count von Rosen —
my young brother. A capital fellow. Let him get
'Ah, madam . . .' said he.
' Call me Count,' she returned, ' respect my in-
' Count be it, then,' he replied. ' And let me
implore that gallant gentleman to set forth at once
on our enterprise.'
' Sit down beside me here,' she returned, patting
the farther corner of the bench. ' I will follow you
IN WHICH VAINGLORY
in a moment. O, I am so tired — feel how my
heart leaps ! Where is your thief ? '
'At his post,' replied Otto. 'Shall I introduce
him ? He seems an excellent companion.'
' No,' she said, ' do not hurry me yet. I must
speak to you. Not but I adore your thief ; I adore
any one who has the spirit to do wrong. I never
cared for virtue till I fell in love with my Prince.'
She laughed musically. ' And even so, it is not for
your virtues,' she added.
Otto was embarrassed. ' And now,' he asked, ' if
you are anyway rested ? '
' Presently, presently. Let me breathe,' she said,
panting a little harder than before.
' And what has so wearied you ? ' he asked. ' This
bag ? And why, in the name of eccentricity, a bag ?
For an empty one, you might have relied on my
own foresight ; and this one is very far from being
empty. My dear Count, with what trash have you
come laden ? But the shortest method is to see for
myself.' And he put down his hand.
She stopped him at once. ' Otto,' she said, ' no
— not that way. I will tell, I will make a clean
breast. It is done already. I have robbed the
treasury single-handed. There are three thousand
two hundred crowns. O, I trust it is enough ! '
Her embarrassment was so obvious that the Prince
was struck into a muse, gazing in her face, with his
hand still outstretched, and she still holding him by
the wrist. ' You ! ' he said at last. ' How ? ' And
then drawing himself up, ' O, madam,' he cried,
GOES BEFORE A FALL
' I understand. You must indeed think meanly of
* Well then, it was a lie ! ' she cried. ' The
money is mine, honestly my own — now yours.
This was an unworthy act that you proposed.
But I love your honour, and I swore to myself
that I should save it in your teeth. I beg of
you to let me save it ' — with a sudden lovely
change of tone. ' Otto, I beseech you let me
save it. Take this dross from your poor friend
who loves you ! '
'Madam, madanV babbled Otto, in the extreme
of misery, 'I cannot — I must go.'
And he half rose ; but she was on the ground
before him in an instant, clasping his knees. 'No,'
she gasped, ' you shall not go. Do you despise me
so entirely ? It is dross ; I hate it ; I should
squander it at play and be no richer ; it is an in-
vestment ; it is to save me from ruin. Otto,' she
cried, as he again feebly tried to put her from him,
'if you leave me alone in this disgrace I will die
here ! ' He groaned aloud. ' O,' she said, ' think
what I suffer ! If you suffer from a piece of de-
licacy, think what I suffer in my shame ! To have
my trash refused ! You would rather steal, you
think of me so basely ! You would rather tread my
heart in pieces ! O, unkind ! O my Prince ! O
Otto ! O pity me ! ' She was still clasping him ;
then she found his hand and covered it with kisses,
and at this his head began to turn. ' O,' she cried
again, ' I see it ! O what a horror ! It is because
IN WHICH VAINGLORY
I am old, because I am no longer beautiful.' And
she burst into a storm of sobs.
This was the coup de grace. Otto had now to
comfort and compose her as he could, and before
many words, the money was accepted. Between
the woman and the weak man such was the inevit-
able end. Madame von Rosen instantly composed
her sobs. She thanked him with a fluttering voice,
and resumed her place upon the bench at the far
end from Otto. ' Now you see,' she said, ' why I
bade you keep the thief at distance, and why I came
alone. How I trembled for my treasure ! '
6 Madam,' said Otto, with a tearful whimper in his
voice, ' spare me ! You are too good, too noble ! '
' I wonder to hear you,' she returned. ' You have
avoided a great folly. You will be able to meet
your good old peasant. You have found an excel-
lent investment for a friend's money. You have
preferred essential kindness to an empty scruple ;
and now you are ashamed of it ! You have made
your friend happy ; and now you mourn as the dove !
Come, cheer up. I know it is depressing to have
done exactly right ; but you need not make a
practice of it. Forgive yourself this virtue ; come
now, look me in the face and smile ! '
He did look at her. When a man has been em-
braced by a woman, he sees her in a glamour ; and
at such a time, in the baffling glimmer of the stars,
she will look wildly well. The hair is touched with
light ; the eyes are constellations ; the face sketched
in shadows — a sketch, you might say, by passion.
GOES BEFORE A FALL
Otto became consoled for his defeat ; he began to
take an interest. ' No/ he said, ' I am no ingrate.'
' You promised me fun,' she returned, with a laugh.
' I have given you as good. We have had a stormy
He laughed in his turn, and the sound of the
laughter, in either case, was hardly reassuring.
' Come, what are you going to give me in ex-
change,' she continued, 'for my excellent declama-
tion ? '
* What you will,' he said.
' Whatever I will ? Upon your honour ? Suppose
I asked the crown ? ' She was flashing upon him,
beautiful in triumph.
' Upon my honour,' he replied.
' Shall I ask the crown ? ' she continued. ' Nay ;
what should I do with it ? Grunewald is but a petty
state ; my ambition swells above it. I shall ask — I
find I want nothing,' she concluded. ' I will give
you something instead. I will give you leave to
kiss me — once.'
Otto drew near, and she put up her face ; they
were both smiling, both on the brink of laughter,
all was so innocent and playful ; and the Prince,
when their lips encountered, was dumfoundered by
the sudden convulsion of his being. Both drew
instantly apart, and for an appreciable time sat
tongue-tied. Otto was indistinctly conscious of a
peril in the silence, but could find no words to utter.
Suddenly the Countess seemed to awake. ' As for
your wife ' she began in a clear and steady voice.
VAINGLORY GOES BEFORE A FALL
The word recalled Otto, with a shudder, from his
trance. ' I will hear nothing against my wife,' he
cried wildly ; and then, recovering himself and in a
kindlier tone, ' I will tell you my one secret,' he
added. ' I love my wife.'
'You should have let me finish,' she returned,
smiling. 'Do you suppose I did not mention her
on purpose? You know you had lost your head.
Well, so had I. Come now, do not be abashed by
words,' she added somewhat sharply. ' It is the one
thing I despise. If you are not a fool, you will see
that I am building fortresses about your virtue.
And at any rate, I choose that you shall understand
that I am not dying of love for you. It is a very
smiling business ; no tragedy for me ! And now
here is what I have to say about your wife : she is
not and she never has been Gondrem ark's mistress.
Be sure he would have boasted if she had. Good-
night ! '
And in a moment she was gone down the alley,
and Otto was alone with the bag of money and the
gotthold's revised opinion ; AND the fall
The Countess left poor Otto with a caress and
buffet simultaneously administered. The welcome
word about his wife and the virtuous ending of his
interview should doubtless have delighted him. But
for all that, as he shouldered the bag of money and
set forward to rejoin his groom, he was conscious of
many aching sensibilities. To have gone wrong and
to have been set right makes but a double trial for
man's vanity. The discovery of his own weakness
and possible unfaith had staggered him to the heart ;
and to hear, in the same hour, of his wife's fidelity
from one who loved her not, increased the bitterness
of the surprise.
He was about halfway between the fountain and
the Flying Mercury before his thoughts began to be
clear ; and he was surprised to find them resentful.
He paused in a kind of temper, and struck with his
hand a little shrub. Thence there arose instantly a
cloud of awakened sparrows, which as instantly dis-
THE FALL COMPLETED
persed and disappeared into the thicket. He looked
at them stupidly, and when they were gone con-
tinued staring at the stars. ' I am angry. By what
right ? By none ! ' he thought ; but he was still
angry. He cursed Madame von Rosen and instantly
repented. Heavy was the money on his shoulders.
When he reached the fountain, he did, out of
ill-humour and parade, an unpardonable act. He
gave the money bodily to the dishonest groom.
' Keep this for me,' he said, ' until I call for it
to-morrow. It is a great sum, and by that you will
judge that I have not condemned you.' And he
strode away ruffling, as if he had done something
generous. It was a desperate stroke to re-enter at
the point of the bayonet into his self-esteem ; and,
like all such, it was fruitless in the end. He got to
bed with the devil, it appeared : kicked and tumbled
till the grey of the morning ; and then fell inoppor-
tunely into a leaden slumber, and awoke to find it
ten. To miss the appointment with old Killian
after all, had been too tragic a miscarriage : and he
hurried with all his might, found the groom (for a
wonder) faithful to his trust, and arrived only a few
minutes before noon in the guest-chamber of the
Morning Star. Killian was there in his Sunday's
best and looking very gaunt and rigid ; a lawyer
from Brandenau stood sentinel over his outspread
papers ; and the groom and the landlord of the inn
were called to serve as witnesses. The obvious
deference of that great man, the innkeeper, plainly
affected the old farmer with surprise ; but it was not
THE FALL COMPLETED
until Otto had taken the pen and signed that the
truth flashed upon him fully. Then, indeed, he was
* His Highness ! ' he cried, ' His Highness ! ' and
repeated the exclamation till his mind had grappled
fairly with the facts. Then he turned to the wit-
nesses. ' Gentlemen,' he said, ' you dwell in a country
highly favoured by God ; for of all generous gentle-
men, I will say it on my conscience, this one is the
king. I am an old man, and I have seen good and
bad, and the year of the great famine ; but a more
excellent gentleman, no, never.'
'We know that,' cried the landlord, 'we know
that well in Griinewald. If we saw more of his High-
ness we should be the better pleased.'
' It is the kindest Prince,' began the groom, and
suddenly closed his mouth upon a sob, so that every
one turned to gaze upon his emotion — Otto not
last ; Otto struck with remorse, to see the man so
Then it was the lawyer's turn to pay a compliment.
' I do not know what Providence may hold in store,'
he said, ' but this day should be a bright one in the
annals of your reign. The shouts of armies could
not be more eloquent than the emotion on these
honest faces.' And the Brandenau lawyer bowed,
skipped, stepped back and took snuff, with the air of
a man who has found and seized an opportunity.
'Well, young gentleman,' said Killian, 'if you will
pardon me the plainness of calling you a gentleman,
many a good day's work you have done, I doubt not,
THE FALL COMPLETED
but never a better, or one that will be better blessed ;
and whatever, sir, may be your happiness and triumph
in that high sphere to which you have been called, it
will be none the worse, sir, for an old man's blessing!'
The scene had almost assumed the proportions of
an ovation ; and when the Prince escaped he had but
one thought : to go wherever he was most sure of
praise. His conduct at the board of council occurred
to him as a fair chapter; and this evoked the
memory of Gotthold. To Gotthold he would go.
Gotthold was in the library as usual, and laid
down his pen, a little angrily, on Otto's entrance.
'Well,' he said, 'here you are.'
'Well,' returned Otto, 'we made a revolution, I
' It is what I fear,' returned the Doctor.
'How?' said Otto. 'Fear? Fear is the burnt
child. I have learned my strength and the weakness
of the others ; and I now mean to govern.'
Gotthold said nothing, but he looked down and
smoothed his chin.
' You disapprove ? ' cried Otto. ' You are a
'On the contrary,' replied the Doctor; 'my ob-
servation has confirmed my fears. It will not do,
Otto, not do.'
' What will not do ? ' demanded the Prince, with
a sickening stab of pain.
'None of it,' answered Gotthold. 'You are
unfitted for a life of action ; you lack the stamina,
the habit, the restraint, the patience. Your wife is
THE FALL COMPLETED
greatly better, vastly better ; and though she is in
bad hands, displays a very different aptitude. She
is a woman of affairs ; you are — dear boy, you are
yourself. I bid you back to your amusements ; like
a smiling dominie, I give you holidays for life.
Yes,' he continued, 'there is a day appointed for all
when they shall turn again upon their own philosophy.
I had grown to disbelieve impartially in all ; and if
in the atlas of the sciences there were two charts I
disbelieved in more than all the rest, they were
politics and morals. I had a sneaking kindness for
your vices ; as they were negative, they flattered my
philosophy ; and I called them almost virtues. Well,
Otto, I was wrong ; I have forsworn my sceptical
philosophy, and I perceive your faults to be unpar-
donable. You are unfit to be a Prince, unfit to be
a husband. And I give you my word, I would
rather see a man capably doing evil than blundering
Otto was still silent, in extreme dudgeon.
Presently the Doctor resumed : ' I will take the
smaller matter first : your conduct to your wife.
You went, I hear, and had an explanation. That
may have been right or wrong ; I know not ; at
least, you had stirred her temper. At the council
she insults you ; well, you insult her back — a man
to a woman, a husband to his wife, in public ! Next
upon the back of this, you propose — the story runs
like wildfire — to recall the power of signature. Can
she ever forgive that ? a woman — a young woman
— ambitious, conscious of talents beyond yours ?
THE FALL COMPLETED
Never, Otto. And to sum all, at such a crisis in
your married life, you get into a window corner
with that ogling dame von Rosen. I do not dream
that there was any harm ; but I do say it was an
idle disrespect to your wife. Why, man, the woman
is not decent'
* Gotthold,' said Otto, ' I will hear no evil of the
' You will certainly hear no good of her,' returned
Gotthold ; ' and if you wish your wife to be the
pink of nicety, you should clear your court of demi-
' The commonplace injustice of a by- word,' Otto
cried. ' The partiality of sex. She is a demirep ;
what then is Gondremark ? Were she a man '
' It would be all one,' retorted Gotthold roughly.
■ When I see a man, come to years of wisdom, who
speaks in double-meanings and is the braggart of his
vices, I spit on the other side. " You, my friend,"
say I, " are not even a gentleman." Well, she 's
not even a lady.'
' She is the best friend I have, and I choose that
she shall be respected,' Otto said.
' If she is your friend, so much the worse,' replied
the Doctor. ' It will not stop there.'
' Ah ! ' cried Otto, ' there is the charity of virtue !
All evil in the spotted fruit. But I can tell you, sir,
that you do Madame von Rosen prodigal injustice.'
' You can tell me ! ' said the Doctor shrewdly.
'Have you tried ? have you been riding the marches?'
The blood came into Otto's face.
THE FALL COMPLETED
'■ Ah ! ' cried Gotthold, ' look at your wife and
blush ! There 's a wife for a man to marry and then
lose ! She 's a carnation, Otto. The soul is in her
'You have changed your note for Seraphina, I
perceive,' said Otto.
' Changed it ! ' cried the Doctor, with a flush.
' Why, when was it different ? But I own I admired
her at the council. When she sat there silent,
tapping with her foot, I admired her as I might a
hurricane. Were I one of those who venture upon
matrimony, there had been the prize to tempt me !
She invites, as Mexico invited Cortez; the enter-
prise is hard, the natives are unfriendly — I believe
them cruel too — but the metropolis is paved with
gold and the breeze blows out of paradise. Yes, I
could desire to be that conqueror. But to philander
with von Rosen ; never ! Senses ? I discard them ;
what are they ? — pruritus ! Curiosity ? Reach me
my Anatomy ! '
'To whom do you address yourself?' cried Otto.
' Surely you, of all men, know that I love my wife ! '
' O, love ! ' cried Gotthold ; ' love is a great word ;
it is in all the dictionaries. If you had loved, she
would have paid you back. What does she ask ?
A little ardour ! '
' It is hard to love for two,' replied the Prince.
' Hard ? Why, there 's the touchstone ! O, I
know my poets ! ' cried the Doctor. ' We are but
dust and fire, too arid to endure life's scorching ; and
love, like the shadow of a great rock, should lend
THE FALL COMPLETED
shelter and refreshment, not to the lover only, but
to his mistress and to the children that reward them ;
and their very friends should seek repose in the
fringes of that peace. Love is not love that cannot
build a home. And you call it love to grudge and
quarrel and pick faults ? You call it love to thwart
her to her face, and bandy insults ? Love ! '
' Gotthold, you are unjust. I was then fighting
for my country,' said the Prince.
' Ay, and there 's the worst of all,' returned the
Doctor. 'You could not even see that you were
wrong; that, being where they were, retreat was
' Why, you supported me ! ' cried Otto.
' I did. I was a fool like you,' replied Gotthold.
' But now my eyes are open. If you go on as you
have started, disgrace this fellow Gondremark, and
publish the scandal of your divided house, there will
befall a most abominable thing in Griinewald. A
revolution, friend — a revolution.'
' You speak strangely for a red,' said Otto.
'A red republican, but not a revolutionary,' re-
turned the Doctor. 'An ugly thing is a Griine-
walder drunk ! One man alone can save the country
from this pass, and that is the double-dealer Gondre-
mark, with whom I conjure you to make peace. It
will not be you ; it never can be you : — you, who
can do nothing, as your wife said, but trade upon
your station — you, who spent the hours in begging
money ! And in God's name, what for ? Why
money ? What mystery of idiocy was this ? '
THE FALL COMPLETED
'It was to no ill end. It was to buy a farm,'
quoth Otto sulkily.
' To buy a farm ! ' cried Gotthold. ' Buy a farm ! '
'Well, what then?' returned Otto. 'I have
bought it, if you come to that. '
Gotthold fairly bounded on his seat. ' And how
that ? ' he cried.
' How ? ' repeated Otto, startled.
' Ay, verily, how ! ' returned the Doctor. ' How
came you by the money ? '
The Prince's countenance darkened. ' That is my
affair,' said he.
'You see you are ashamed,' retorted Gotthold.
'And so you bought a farm in the hour of your
country's need — doubtless to be ready for the abdi-
cation ; and I put it that you stole the funds.
There are not three ways of getting money : there
are but two : to earn and steal. And now, when
you have combined Charles the Fifth and Long-
fingered Tom, you come to me to fortify your
vanity ! But I will clear my mind upon this matter :
until I know the right and wrong of the transaction
I put my hand behind my back. A man may be
the pitifullest prince ; he must be a spotless gentle-
The Prince had gotten to his feet, as pale as
paper. ' Gotthold,' he said, ' you drive me beyond
bounds. Beware, sir, beware ! '
' Do you threaten me, friend Otto ? ' asked the
Doctor grimly. ' That would be a strange con-
9— l 161
THE FALL COMPLETED
'When have you ever known me use my power
in any private animosity ? ' cried Otto. ' To any
private man your words were an unpardonable
insult, but at me you shoot in full security, and
I must turn aside to compliment you on your plain-
ness. I must do more than pardon, I must admire,
because you have faced this — this formidable mon-
arch, like a Nathan before David. You have up-
rooted an old kindness, sir, with an unsparing hand.
You leave me very bare. My last bond is broken ;
and though I take Heaven to witness that I sought
to do the right, I have this reward : to find myself
alone. You say I am no gentleman ; yet the sneers
have been upon your side ; and though I can very
well perceive where you have lodged your sym-
pathies, I will forbear the taunt.'
' Otto, are you insane ? ' cried Gotthold, leaping
up. * Because I ask you how you came by certain
moneys, and because you refuse '
'Herr von Hohenstockwitz, I have ceased to
invite your aid in my affairs,' said Otto. ' I have
heard all that I desire, and you have sufficiently
trampled on my vanity. It may be that I cannot
govern, it may be that I cannot love — you tell me
so with every mark of honesty ; but God has granted
me one virtue, and I can still forgive. I forgive
you ; even in this hour of passion I can perceive
my faults and your excuses ; and if I desire that in
future I may be spared your conversation, it is not,
sir, from resentment — not resentment — but, by
Heaven, because no man on earth could endure to
THE FALL COMPLETED
be so rated. You have the satisfaction to see your
sovereign weep ; and that person whom you have
so often taunted with his happiness reduced to the
last pitch of solitude and misery. No, — I will hear
nothing ; I claim the last word, sir, as your Prince ;
and that last word shall be — forgiveness.'
And with that Otto was gone from the apartment,
and Doctor Gotthold was left alone with the most
conflicting sentiments of sorrow, remorse, and merri-
ment ; walking to and fro before his table, and asking
himself, with hands uplifted, which of the pair of
them was most to blame for this unhappy rupture.
Presently, he took from a cupboard a bottle of Rhine
wine and a goblet of the deep Bohemian ruby. The
first glass a little warmed and comforted his bosom ;
with the second he began to look down upon these
troubles from a sunny mountain ; yet a while, and
filled with this false comfort and contemplating life
through a golden medium, he owned to himself,
with a flush, a smile, and a half-pleasurable sigh, that
he had been somewhat over plain in dealing with his
cousin. * He said the truth, too,' added the penitent
librarian, 'for in my monkish fashion I adore the
Princess.' And then, with a still deepening flush
and a certain stealth, although he sat all alone in
that great gallery, he toasted Seraphina to the
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN I ACT THE FIRST
SHE BEGUILES THE BARON
At a sufficiently late hour, or, to be more exact, at
three in the afternoon, Madame von Rosen issued on
the world. She swept down-stairs and out across the
garden, a black mantilla thrown over her head, and
the long train of her black velvet dress ruthlessly
sweeping in the dirt.
At the other end of that long garden, and back to
back with the villa of the Countess, stood the large
mansion where the Prime Minister transacted his
affairs and pleasures. This distance, which was
enough for decency by the easy canons of Mitt-
walden, the Countess swiftly traversed, opened a
little door with a key, mounted a flight of stairs,
and entered unceremoniously into Gondremark's
study. It was a large and very high apartment ;
books all about the walls, papers on the table, papers
on the floor ; here and there a picture, somewhat
scant of drapery ; a great fire glowing and flaming
in the blue tiled hearth ; and the daylight streaming
VON ROSEN BEGUILES THE BAKON
through a cupola above. In the midst of this sat
the great Baron Gondremark in his shirt-sleeves, his
business for that day fairly at an end, and the hour
arrived for relaxation. His expression, his very
nature, seemed to have undergone a fundamental
change. Gondremark at home appeared the very
antipode of Gondremark on duty. He had an air of
massive jollity that well became him ; grossness and
geniality sat upon his features ; and along with his
manners, he had laid aside his sly and sinister expres-
sion. He lolled there, sunning his bulk before the
fire, a noble animal.
< Hey ! ' he cried. « At last ! '
The Countess stepped into the room in silence,
threw herself on a chair, and crossed her legs. In
her lace and velvet, with a good display of smooth
black stocking and of snowy petticoat, and with the
refined profile of her face and slender plumpness of
her body, she showed in singular contrast to the big,
black, intellectual satyr by the fire.
' How often do you send for me ? ' she cried. ' It
Gondremark laughed. ' Speaking of that,' said he,
'what in the devil's name were you about? You
were not home till morning.'
' I was giving alms,' she said.
The Baron again laughed loud and long, for in
his shirt-sleeves he was a very mirthful creature.
'It is fortunate I am not jealous,' he remarked.
' But you know my way : pleasure and liberty go
hand in hand. I believe what I believe ; it is not
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
much, but I believe it. — But now to business.
Have you not read my letter ? '
' No,' she said ; ' my head ached. 1
'Ah, well! then I have news indeed!' cried
Gondremark. ' I was mad to see you all last night
and all this morning : for yesterday afternoon I
brought my long business to a head ; the ship has
come home ; one more dead lift, and I shall cease to
fetch and carry for the Princess Ratafia. Yes, 'tis
done. I have the order all in Ratafia's hand ; I
carry it on my heart. At the hour of twelve to-
night, Prince Featherhead is to be taken in his bed,
and, like the bambino, whipped into a chariot ; and
by next morning he will command a most romantic
prospect from the donjon of the Felsenburg. Fare-
well, Featherhead ! The war goes on, the girl is in
my hand ; I have long been indispensable, but now
I shall be sole. I have long,' he added exultingly,
'long carried this intrigue upon my shoulders, like
Samson with the gates of Gaza ; now I discharge
She had sprung to her feet a little paler. ' Is
this true ? ' she cried.
' I tell you a fact,' he asseverated. ' The trick
' I will never believe it,' she said. ' An order ?
In her own hand ? I will never believe it, Heinrich.'
' I swear to you,' said he.
' O, what do you care for oaths — or I either ?
What would you swear by? Wine, women, and
song? It is not binding,' she said. She had come
BEGUILES THE BARON
quite close up to him and laid her hand upon his
arm. 'As for the order — no, Heinrich, never! I
will never believe it. T will die ere I believe it.
You have some secret purpose — what, I cannot
guess — but not one word of it is true.'
' Shall I show it you ? ' he asked.
' You cannot,' she answered. ' There is no such
' Incorrigible Sadducee ! ' he cried. ' Well, I will
convert you ; you shall see the order.' He moved to
a chair where he had thrown his coat, and then draw-
ing forth and holding out a paper, ' Read,' said he.
She took it greedily, and her eye flashed as she
' Hey ! ' cried the Baron, ' there falls a dynasty,
and it was I that felled it ; and I and you inherit ! '
He seemed to swell in stature ; and next moment,
with a laugh, he put his hand forward. ' Give me
the dagger,' said he.
But she whisked the paper suddenly behind her
back and faced him, lowering. 'No, no,' she said.
'You and I have first a point to settle. Do you
suppose me blind ? She could never have given that
paper but to one man, and that man her lover. Here
you stand — her lover, her accomplice, her master —
O, I well believe it, for I know your power. But
what am I ? ' she cried ; ' I, whom you deceive ? '
' Jealousy ! ' cried Gondremark. ' Anna, I would
never have believed it ! But I declare to you by all
that's credible that I am not her lover. I might
be, I suppose; but I never yet durst risk the
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
declaration. The chit is so unreal ; a mincing doll ;
she will and she will not ; there is no counting on
her, by God! And hitherto I have had my own
way without, and keep the lover in reserve. And I
say, Anna,' he added with severity, ' you must break
yourself of this new fit, my girl ; there must be no
combustion. I keep the creature under the belief
that I adore her ; and if she caught a breath of you
and me, she is such a fool, prude, and dog in the
manger, that she is capable of spoiling all.'
' All very fine,' returned the lady. * With whom
do you pass your days ? and which am I to believe,
your words or your actions ? '
' Anna, the devil take you, are you blind ? ' cried
Gondremark. 'You know me. Am I likely to
care for such a preciosa ? Tis hard that we should
have been together for so long, and you should still
take me for a troubadour. But if there is one thins:
that I despise and deprecate, it is all such figures in
Berlin wool. Give me a human woman — like myself.
You are my mate ; you were made for me ; you
amuse me like the play. And what have I to gain
that I should pretend to you ? If I do not love you,
what use are you to me? Why, none. It is as
clear as noonday.'
' Do you love me, Heinrich ? ' she asked, languish-
ing. * Do you truly ? '
'I tell you,' he cried, 'I love you next after
myself. I should be all abroad if I had lost you.'
' Well, then,' said she, folding up the paper and
putting it calmly in her pocket, ' I will believe you,
BEGUILES THE BARON
and I join the plot. Count upon me. At midnight,
did you say ? It is Gordon, I see, that you have
charged with it. Excellent ; he will stick at nothing.'
Gondremark watched her suspiciously. ' Why do
you take the paper ? ' he demanded. ' Give it here.'
* No,' she returned ; ' I mean to keep it. It is I
who must prepare the stroke ; you cannot manage it
without me ; and to do my best I must possess the
paper. Where shall I find Gordon ? In his rooms ? '
She spoke with a rather feverish self-possession.
* Anna,' he said sternly, the black, bilious counten-
ance of his palace role taking the place of the more
open favour of his hours at home, ' I ask you for that
paper. Once, twice, and thrice.'
' Heinrich,' she returned, looking him in the face,
' take care. I will put up with no dictation.'
Both looked dangerous ; and the silence lasted for
a measurable interval of time. Then she made haste
to have the first word ; and with a laugh that rang
clear and honest, 'Do not be a child,' she said. ' I
wonder at you. If your assurances are true, you can
have no reason to mistrust me, nor I to play you
false. The difficulty is to get the Prince out of the
palace without scandal. His valets are devoted ; his
chamberlain a slave ; and yet one cry might ruin all.'
* They must be overpowered,' he said, following
her to the new ground, ' and disappear along with
i And your whole scheme along with them ! ' she
cried. ' He does not take his servants when he goes
a-hunting : a child could read the truth. No, no ;
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
the plan is idiotic ; it must be Ratafia's. But hear
me. You know the Prince worships me ? '
' I know,' he said. ' Poor Featherhead, I cross his
destiny ! '
' Well now,' she continued, ' what if I bring him
alone out of the palace, to some quiet corner of the
Park — the Flying Mercury, for instance ? Gordon
can be posted in the thicket ; the carriage wait behind
the temple ; not a cry, not a scuffle, not a footfall ;
simply, the Prince vanishes ! — What do you say ?
Am I an able ally ? Are my beauoc yeuoc of service ?
Ah, Heinrich, do not lose your Anna ! — she has
power ! '
He struck with his open hand upon the chimney.
' Witch ! ' he said, « there is not your match for
devilry in Europe. Service ! the thing runs on
' Kiss me, then, and let me go. I must not miss
my Featherhead,' she said.
* Stay, stay,' said the Baron ; ' not so fast. I wish,
upon my soul, that I could trust you ; but you are,
out and in, so whimsical a devil that I dare not.
Hang it, Anna, no ; it 's not possible ! '
' You doubt me, Heinrich ? ' she cried.
' Doubt is not the word,' said he. ' I know you.
Once you were clear of me with that paper in your
pocket, who knows what you would do with it ? — not
you, at least — nor I. You see,' he added, shaking
his head paternally upon the Countess, ■ you are as
vicious as a monkey.'
'I swear to you,' she cried, ' by my salvation . . .'
BEGUILES THE BARON
' I have no curiosity to hear you swearing,' said
* You think that I have no religion ? You suppose
me destitute of honour. Well/ she said, ' see here :
I will not argue, but I tell you once for all : leave
me this order, and the Prince shall be arrested — take
it from me, and, as certain as I speak, I will upset
the coach. Trust me, or fear me : take your choice.'
And she offered him the paper.
The Baron, in a great contention of mind, stood
irresolute, weighing the two dangers. Once his hand
advanced, then dropped. ' Well,' he said, ' since trust
is what you call it . . /
' No more,' she interrupted. ' Do not spoil your
attitude. And now since you have behaved like a
good sort of fellow in the dark, I will condescend to
tell you why. I go to the palace to arrange with
Gordon ; but how is Gordon to obey me ? And how
can I foresee the hours ? It may be midnight ; ay,
and it may be nightfall ; all 's a chance ; and to act,
I must be free and hold the strings of the adventure.
And now/ she cried, 'your Vivien goes. Dub me
your knight ! ' And she held out her arms and
smiled upon him radiant.
' Well,' he said, when he had kissed her, ' every
man must have his folly ; I thank God mine is
no worse. Off with you ! I have given a child a
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN : ACT THE SECOND
SHE INFORMS THE PRINCE
It was the first impulse of Madame von Rosen to
return to her own villa and revise her toilette.
Whatever else should come of this adventure, it
was her firm design to pay a visit to the Princess.
And before that woman, so little beloved, the
Countess would appear at no disadvantage. It was
the work of minutes. Von Rosen had the captain's
eye in matters of the toilette ; she was none of those
who hang in Fabian helplessness among their finery,
and, after hours, come forth upon the world as
dowdies. A glance, a loosened curl, a studied and
admired disorder in the hair, a bit of lace, a touch
of colour, a yellow rose in the bosom ; and the in-
stant picture was complete.
* That will do,' she said. ' Bid my carriage follow
me to the palace. In half an hour it should be there
The night was beginning to fall and the shops to
shine with lamps along the tree-beshadowed thorough-
VON ROSEN INFORMS THE PRINCE
fares of Otto's capital, when the Countess started
on her high emprise. She was jocund at heart ;
pleasure and interest had winged her beauty, and she
knew it. She paused before the glowing jeweller's ;
she remarked and praised a costume in the milliner's
window ; and when she reached the lime-tree walk
with its high, umbrageous arches and stir of passers-
by in the dim alleys, she took her place upon a
bench and began to dally with the pleasures of the
hour. It was cold, but she did not feel it, being
warm within ; her thoughts, in that dark corner,
shone like the gold and rubies at the jeweller's ; her
ears, which heard the brushing of so many footfalls,
transposed it into music.
What was she to do ? She held the paper by
which all depended. Otto and Gondremark and
Ratafia, and the state itself, hung light in her
balances, as light as dust ; her little finger laid in
either scale would set all flying : and she hugged
herself upon her huge preponderance, and then
laughed aloud to think how giddily it might be used.
The vertigo of omnipotence, the disease of Caesars,
shook her reason. ' O the mad world ! ' she thought,
and laughed aloud in exultation.
A child, finger in mouth, had paused a little way
from where she sat, and stared with cloudy interest
upon this laughing lady. She called it nearer ; but
the child hung back. Instantly, with that curious
passion which you may see any woman in the world
display, on the most odd occasions, for a similar end,
the Countess bent herself with singleness of mind to
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
overcome this diffidence ; and presently, sure enough,
the child was seated on her knee, thumbing and
glowering at her watch.
* If you had a clay bear and a china monkey,' asked
von Rosen, ' which would you prefer to break ? '
' But I have neither,' said the child.
* Well,' she said, ' here is a bright florin, with
which you may purchase both the one and the other ;
and I shall give it you at once, if you will answer
my question. The clay bear or the china monkey —
come ? '
But the unbreeched soothsayer only stared upon
the florin with big eyes ; the oracle could not be
persuaded to reply ; and the Countess kissed him
lightly, gave him the florin, set him down upon the
path, and resumed her way with swinging and elastic
' Which shall I break ? ' she wondered ; and she
passed her hand with delight among the careful dis-
arrangement of her locks. ' Which ? ' and she con-
sulted heaven with her bright eyes. ' Do I love
both or neither ? A little — passionately — not at all ?
Both or neither — both, I believe ; but at least I will
make hay of Ratafia.'
By the time she had passed the iron gates, mounted
the drive, and set her foot upon the broad flagged
terrace, the night had come completely ; the palace
front was thick with lighted windows ; and along
the balustrade, the lamp on every twentieth baluster
shone clear. A few withered tracks of sunset, amber
and glow-worm green, still lingered in the western
INFORMS THE PRINCE
sky ; and she paused once again to watch them
'And to think,' she said, 'that here am I — destiny
embodied, a norn, a fate, a providence — and have no
guess upon which side I shall declare myself ! What
other woman in my place would not be prejudiced,
and think herself committed ? But, thank Heaven !
I was born just ! ' Otto's windows were bright
among the rest, and she looked on them with rising
tenderness. ' How does it feel to be deserted ? ' she
thought. ' Poor dear fool ! The girl deserves that
he should see this order.'
Without more delay, she passed into the palace
and asked for an audience of Prince Otto. The
Prince, she was told, was in his own apartment, and
desired to be private. She sent her name. A man
presently returned with word that the Prince ten-
dered his apologies but could see no one. i Then I
will write,' she said, and scribbled a few lines alleg-
ing urgency of life and death. ' Help me, my Prince,'
she added ; ' none but you can help me. ' This time
the messenger returned more speedily and begged
the Countess to follow him : the Prince was era-
ciously pleased to receive the Frau Grafin von
Otto sat by the fire in his large armoury, weapons
faintly glittering all about him in the changeful
light. His face was disfigured by the marks of
weeping ; he looked sour and sad ; nor did he rise
to greet his visitor, but bowed, and bade the man
be gone. That kind of general tenderness which
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
served the Countess for both heart and conscience,
sharply smote her at this spectacle of grief and weak-
ness ; she began immediately to enter into the spirit
of her part ; and as soon as they were alone, taking
one step forward and with a magnificent gesture —
' Up ! ' she cried.
' Madame von Rosen,' replied Otto dully, ' you
have used strong words. You speak of life and
death. Pray, madam, who is threatened ? Who is
there,' he added bitterly, * so destitute that even
Otto of Grunewald can assist him ? '
' First learn,' said she, ' the names of the con-
spirators : the Princess and the Baron Gondremark.
Can you not guess the rest ? ' And then, as he main-
tained his silence — ' You ! ' she cried, pointing at
him with her finger. ' Tis you they threaten !
Your rascal and mine have laid their heads together
and condemned you. But they reckoned without
you and me. We make a partie carree, Prince, in
love and politics. They lead an ace, but we shall
trump it. Come, partner, shall I draw my card ? '
' Madam,' he said, ' explain yourself. Indeed I
fail to comprehend.'
' See, then,' said she : and handed him the order.
He took it, looked upon it with a start ; and then,
still without speech, he put his hand before his face.
She waited for a word in vain.
' What ! ' she cried, ' do you take the thing down-
heartedly ? As well seek wine in a milkpail as love
in that girl's heart ! Be done with this, and be a
man. After the league of the lions, let us have a
INFORMS THE PRINCE
conspiracy of mice, and pull this piece of machinery
to ground. You were brisk enough last night when
nothing was at stake and all was frolic. Well, here
is better sport ; here is life indeed.'
He got to his feet with some alacrity, and his
face, which was a little flushed, bore the marks of
' Madame von Rosen,' said he, ' I am neither un-
conscious nor ungrateful ; this is the true continua-
tion of your friendship ; but I see that I must dis-
appoint your expectations. You seem to expect
from me some effort of resistance ; but why should
I resist ? I have not much to gain ; and now that
I have read this paper, and the last of a fool's para-
dise is shattered, it would be hyperbolical to speak
of loss in the same breath with Otto of Griinewald.
I have no party, no policy ; no pride, nor anything
to be proud of. For what benefit or principle under
Heaven do you expect me to contend ? Or would
you have me bite and scratch like a trapped weasel ?
No, madam ; signify to those who sent you my
readiness to go. I would at least avoid a scandal.'
' You go ? — of your own will, you go ? ' she cried.
' I cannot say so much, perhaps,' he answered ;
' but I go with good alacrity. I have desired a
change some time ; behold one offered me ! Shall
I refuse ? Thank God, I am not so destitute of
humour as to make a tragedy of such a farce.' He
flicked the order on the table. ' You may signify
my readiness,' he added grandly.
* Ah,' she said, ' you are more angry than you own.'
9— M 177
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
* I, madam ? angry ? ' he cried. ' You rave ! I
have no cause for anger. In every way I have been
taught my weakness, my instability, and my unfit-
ness for the world. I am a plexus of weaknesses,
an impotent Prince, a doubtful gentleman ; and you
yourself, indulgent as you are, have twice reproved
my levity. And shall I be angry ? I may feel the
unkindness, but I have sufficient honesty of mind to
see the reasons of this coup d'etaV
' From whom have you got this ? ' she cried in
wonder. ' You think you have not behaved well ?
My Prince, were you not young and handsome, I
should detest you for your virtues. You push
them to the verge of commonplace. And this in-
'Understand me, Madame von Rosen,' returned
the Prince, flushing a little darker, ' there can be
here no talk of gratitude, none of pride. You are
here, by what circumstance I know not, but doubt-
less led by your kindness, mixed up in what regards
my family alone. You have no knowledge what
my wife, your sovereign, may have suffered ; it is
not for you — no, nor for me — to judge. I own my-
self in fault ; and were it otherwise, a man were a
very empty boaster who should talk of love and start
before a small humiliation. It is in all the copy-
books that one should die to please his lady-love ;
and shall a man not go to prison ? '
' Love ? And what has love to do with being
sent to gaol ? ' exclaimed the Countess, appealing to
the walls and roof. ' Heaven knows I think as much
INFORMS THE PRINCE
of love as any one ; my life would prove it ; but I
admit no love, at least for a man, that is not equally
returned. The rest is moonshine.'
' I think of love more absolutely, madam, though
I am certain no more tenderly, than a lady to whom
I am indebted for such kindnesses,' returned the
Prince. ' But this is unavailing. We are not here
to hold a court of troubadours.'
' Still,' she replied, ' there is one thing you forget.
If she conspires with Gondremark against your
liberty, she may conspire with him against your
' My honour ? ' he repeated. ' For a woman, you
surprise me. If I have failed to gain her love or play
my part of husband, what right is left me ? or what
honour can remain in such a scene of defeat ? No
honour that I recognise. I am become a stranger.
If my wife no longer loves me, I will go to prison,
since she wills it ; if she love another, where should
I be more in place ? or whose fault is it but mine ?
You speak, Madame von Rosen, like too many
women, with a man's tongue. Had I myself fallen
into temptation (as, Heaven knows, I might) I should
have trembled, but still hoped and asked for her for-
giveness ; and yet mine had been a treason in the
teeth of love. But let me tell you, madam,' he pur-
sued, with rising irritation, 'where a husband by
futility, facility, and ill-timed humours has outwearied
his wife's patience, I will suffer neither man nor
woman to misjudge her. She is free ; the man has
been found wanting.
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
' Because she loves you not ? ' the Countess cried.
' You know she is incapable of such a feeling.'
' Rather, it was I who was born incapable of
inspiring it,' said Otto.
Madame von Rosen broke into sudden laughter.
' Fool,' she cried, ' I am in love with you myself ! '
'Ah, madam, you are most compassionate,' the
Prince retorted, smiling. ' But this is waste debate.
I know my purpose. Perhaps, to equal you in frank-
ness, I know and embrace my advantage. I am not
without the spirit of adventure. I am in a false
position — so recognised by public acclamation : do
you grudge me, then, my issue ? '
' If your mind is made up, why should I dissuade
you ? ' said the Countess. ' I own, with a bare face,
I am the gainer. Go, you take my heart with you,
or more of it than I desire ; I shall not sleep at
night for thinking of your misery. But do not be
afraid ; I would not spoil you, you are such a fool
' Alas ! madam,' cried the Prince, ' and your
unlucky money ! I did amiss to take it, but you
are a wonderful persuader. And I thank God, I can
still offer you the fair equivalent' He took some
papers from the chimney. ' Here, madam, are the
title-deeds,' he said ; * where I am going, they can
certainly be of no use to me, and I have now no other
hope of making up to you your kindness. You made
the loan without formality, obeying your kind heart.
The parts are somewhat changed ; the sun of this
Prince of Grimewald is upon the point of setting ;
INFORMS THE PRINCE
and I know you better than to doubt you will once
more waive ceremony, and accept the best that he
can give you. If I may look for any pleasure in the
coming time, it will be to remember that the peasant
is secure, and my most generous friend no loser.'
* Do you not understand my odious position ? '
cried the Countess. ' Dear Prince, it is upon your
fall that I begin my fortune.'
' It was the more like you to tempt me to resist-
ance,' returned Otto. 'But this cannot alter our
relations ; and I must, for the last time, lay my com-
mands upon you in the character of Prince.' And
with his loftiest dignity, he forced the deeds on her
* I hate the very touch of them,' she cried.
There followed upon this a little silence. ' At
what time,' resumed Otto, ' (if indeed you know) am
I to be arrested ? '
' Your Highness, when you please ! ' exclaimed the
Countess. ' Or, if you choose to tear that paper,
never ! '
' I would rather it were done quickly,' said the
Prince. ' I shall take but time to leave a letter for
* Well,' said the Countess, ' I have advised you to
resist ; at the same time, if you intend to be dumb
before your shearers, I must say that I ought to set
about arranging your arrest. I offered ' — she hesitated
— ' I offered to manage it, intending, my dear friend
• — intending, upon my soul, to be of use to you.
Well, if you will not profit by my goodwill, then be
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
of use to me ; and as soon as ever you feel ready, go
to the Flying Mercury where we met last night. It
will be none the worse for you ; and to make it quite
plain, it will be better for the rest of us.'
' Dear madam, certainly,' said Otto. « If I am pre-
pared for the chief evil, I shall not quarrel with
details. Go, then, with my best gratitude ; and
when I have written a few lines of leave-taking, I
shall immediately hasten to keep tryst. To-night
I shall not meet so dangerous a cavalier,' he added,
with a smiling gallantry.
As soon as Madame von Rosen was gone he made
a great call upon his self-command. He was face to
face with a miserable passage where, if it were
possible, he desired to carry himself with dignity. As
to the main fact, he never swerved or faltered ; he
had come so heart-sick and so cruelly humiliated from
his talk with Gotthold, that he embraced the notion
of imprisonment with something bordering on relief.
Here was, at least, a step which he thought blame-
less ; here was a way out of his troubles. He sat
down to write to Seraphina ; and his anger blazed.
The tale of his forbearances mounted, in his eyes, to
something monstrous ; still more monstrous, the cold-
ness, egoism, and cruelty that had required and thus
requited them. The pen which he had taken shook
in his hand. He was amazed to find his resignation
fled, but it was gone beyond his recall. In a few
white-hot words, he bade adieu, dubbing desperation
by the name of love, and calling his wrath forgive-
ness ; then he cast but one look of leave-taking on
INFORMS THE PRINCE
the place that had been his for so long and was now
to be his no longer ; and hurried forth — love's
prisoner — or pride's.
He took that private passage which he had
trodden so often in less momentous hours. The
porter let him out : and the bountiful, cold air of the
night and the pure glory of the stars received him
on the threshold. He looked round him, breathing
deep of earth's plain fragrance ; he looked up into the
great array of heaven, and was quieted. His little
turgid life dwindled to its true proportions ; and he
saw himself (that great flame-hearted martyr !) stand
like a speck under the cool cupola of the night.
Thus he felt his careless injuries already soothed;
the live air of out-of-doors, the quiet of the world,
as if by their silent music, sobering and dwarfing his
'Well, I forgive her,' he said. 'If it be of any
use to her, I forgive.'
And with brisk steps he crossed the garden,
issued upon the park and came to the Flying
Mercury. A dark figure moved forward from the
shadow of the pedestal.
' I have to ask your pardon, sir,' a voice observed,
'but if I am right in taking you for the Prince, I
was given to understand that you would be prepared
to meet me.'
' Herr Gordon, I believe ? ' said Otto.
' Herr Oberst Gordon,' replied that officer. * This
is rather a ticklish business for a man to be embarked
in ; and to find that all is to go pleasantly is a great
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
relief to me. The carriage is at hand ; shall I have
the honour of following your Highness ? '
' Colonel,' said the Prince, ' I have now come to
that happy moment of my life when I have orders
to receive but none to give.'
'A most philosophical remark!' returned the
Colonel. ' Begad, a very pertinent remark ! it might
be Plutarch. I am not a drop's blood to your High-
ness, or indeed to any one in this principality; or
else I should dislike my orders. But as it is, and
since there is nothing unnatural or unbecoming on
my side, and your Highness takes it in good part, I
begin to believe we may have a capital time together,
sir — a capital time. For a gaoler is only a fellow-
' May I inquire, Herr Gordon,' asked Otto, ' what
led you to accept this dangerous and I would fain
hope thankless office ? '
' Very natural, I am sure,' replied the officer of
fortune. ' My pay is, in the meanwhile, doubled.'
' Well, sir, I will not presume to criticise,' returned
the Prince. 'And I perceive the carriage.'
Sure enough, at the intersection of two alleys of
the park, a coach and four, conspicuous by its lan-
terns, stood in waiting. And a little way off about
a score of lancers were drawn up under the shadow
of the trees.
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN I ACT THE THIRD
SHE ENLIGHTENS SERAPHINA
When Madame von Rosen left the Prince, she
hurried straight to Colonel Gordon ; and not content
with directing the arrangements, she had herself
accompanied the soldier of fortune to the Flying
Mercury. The Colonel gave her his arm, and the
talk between this pair of conspirators ran high and
lively. The Countess, indeed, was in a whirl of
pleasure and excitement ; her tongue stumbled upon
laughter, her eyes shone, the colour that was usually
wanting now perfected her face. It would have
taken little more to bring Gordon to her feet — or so,
at least, she believed, disdaining the idea.
Hidden among some lilac bushes, she enjoyed the
great decorum of the arrest, and heard the dialogue
of the two men die away along the path. Soon
after, the rolling of a carriage and the beat of hoofs
arose in the still air of the night, and passed speedily
farther and fainter into silence. The Prince was gone.
Madame von Rosen consulted her watch. She
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
had still, she thought, time enough for the tit-bit of
her evening ; and hurrying to the palace, winged by
the fear of Gondrem ark's arrival, she sent her name
and a pressing request for a reception to the Princess
Seraphina. As the Countess von Rosen unqualified,
she was sure to be refused ; but as an emissary of
the Baron's, for so she chose to style herself, she
gained immediate entry.
The Princess sat alone at table, making a feint of
dining. Her cheeks were mottled, her eyes heavy ;
she had neither slept nor eaten ; even her dress had
been neglected. In short, she was out of health, out
of looks, out of heart, and hag-ridden by her con-
science. The Countess drew a swift comparison,
and shone brighter in beauty.
* You come, madam, de la part de Monsieur le
Baron,' drawled the Princess. ' Be seated ! What
have you to say ? '
' To say ? ' repeated Madame von Rosen. * O,
much to say ! Much to say that I would rather
not, and much to leave unsaid that I would rather
say. For I am like St. Paul, your Highness, and
always wish to do the things I should not. Well !
to be categorical — that is the word? — I took the
Prince your order. He could not credit his senses.
" Ah," he cried, " dear Madame von Rosen, it is not
possible — it cannot be — I must hear it from your
lips. My wife is a poor girl misled, she is only silly,
she is not cruel." " Mon Prince" said I, "a girl —
and therefore cruel ; youth kills flies." — He had such
pain to understand it ! '
* Madame von Rosen,' said the Princess, in most
steadfast tones, but with a rose of anger in her face,
• who sent you here, and for what purpose ? Tell
'O, madam, I believe you understand me very
well,' returned von Rosen. * I have not your philo-
sophy. I wear my heart upon my sleeve, excuse the
indecency ! It is a very little one,' she laughed,
' and I so often change the sleeve ! '
' Am I to understand the Prince has been arrested?'
asked the Princess, rising.
* While you sat there dining ! ' cried the Countess,
still nonchalantly seated.
' You have discharged your errand,' was the reply ;
'I will not detain you.'
'O no, madam,' said the Countess, 'with your
permission, I have not yet done. I have borne
much this evening in your service. I have suffered.
I was made to suffer in your service.' She unfolded
her fan as she spoke. Quick as her pulses beat, the
fan waved languidly. She betrayed her emotion
only by the brightness of her eyes and face, and by
the almost insolent triumph with which she looked
down upon the Princess. There were old scores of
rivalry between them in more than one field ; so at
least von Rosen felt ; and now she was to have her
hour of victory in them all.
'You are no servant, Madame von Rosen, of
mine,' said Seraphina.
' No, madam, indeed,' returned the Countess ; ' but
we both serve the same person, as you know — or if
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
you do not, then I have the pleasure of informing
you. Your conduct is so light — so light,' she re-
peated, the fan wavering higher like a butterfly,
'that perhaps you do not truly understand.' The
Countess rolled her fan together, laid it in her lap,
and rose to a less languorous position. ' Indeed,'
she continued, ' I should be sorry to see any young
woman in your situation. You began with every
advantage — birth, a suitable marriage — quite pretty
too — and see what you have come to ! My poor
girl, to think of it ! But there is nothing that does
so much harm,' observed the Countess finely, 'as
giddiness of mind.' And she once more unfurled
the fan, and approvingly fanned herself.
' I will no longer permit you to forget yourself,'
cried Seraphina. 'I think you are mad.'
'Not mad,' returned von Rosen. 'Sane enough
to know you dare not break with me to-night, and
to profit by the knowledge. I left my poor, pretty
Prince Charming crying his eyes out for a wooden
doll. My heart is soft ; I love my pretty Prince ;
you will never understand it, but I long to give my
Prince his doll, dry his poor eyes, and send him off
happy. O, you immature fool ! ' the Countess
cried, rising to her feet, and pointing at the Princess
the closed fan that now began to tremble in her
hand. ' O wooden doll ! ' she cried, ' have you a
heart, or blood, or any nature? This is a man,
child— a man who loves you. O, it will not
happen twice ! it is not common ; beautiful and
clever women look in vain for it. And you, you
pitiful school-girl, tread this jewel under foot ! you,
stupid with your vanity ! Before you try to govern
kingdoms you should first be able to behave your-
self at home ; home is the woman's kingdom.' She
paused and laughed a little, strangely to hear and
look upon. ' I will tell you one of the things,' she
said, ' that were to stay unspoken. Von Rosen is a
better woman than you, my Princess, though you
will never have the pain of understanding it ; and
when I took the Prince your order, and looked upon
his face, my soul was melted — O, I am frank —
here, within my arms, I offered him repose ! ' She
advanced a step superbly as she spoke, with out-
stretched arms ; and Seraphina shrank. ' Do not be
alarmed!' the Countess cried; 'I am not offering
that hermitage to you ; in all the world there is but
one who wants to, and him you have dismissed !
"If it will give her pleasure I should wear the
martyr's crown," he cried, "I will embrace the
thorns." I tell you — I am quite frank — I put the
order in his power and begged him to resist. You,
who have betrayed your husband, may betray me
to Gondremark ; my Prince would betray no one.
Understand it plainly,' she cried, ''tis of his pure
forbearance you sit there ; he had the power — I gave
it him — to change the parts; and he refused, and
went to prison in your place.'
The Princess spoke with some distress. 'Your
violence shocks me and pains me,' she began, 'but
I cannot be angry with what at least does honour to
the mistaken kindness of your heart : it was right
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
for me to know this. I will condescend to tell you.
It was with deep regret that I was driven to this
step. I admire in many ways the Prince — I admit
his amiability. It was our great misfortune, it was
perhaps somewhat of my fault, that we were so
unsuited to each other; but I have a regard, a
sincere regard, for all his qualities. As a private
person I should think as you do. It is difficult, I
know, to make allowances for state considerations.
I have only with deep reluctance obeyed the call of
a superior duty ; and so soon as I dare do it for the
safety of the state, I promise you the Prince shall be
released. Many in my situation would have resented
your freedoms. I am not' — and she looked for a
moment rather piteously upon the Countess — ' I am
not altogether so inhuman as you think.'
* And you can put these troubles of the state,' the
Countess cried, i to weigh with a man's love ? '
* Madame von Rosen, these troubles are affairs of
life and death to many ; to the Prince, and perhaps
even to yourself, among the number,' replied the
Princess, with dignity. 'I have learned, madam,
although still so young, in a hard school, that my
own feelings must everywhere come last.'
' O callow innocence ! ' exclaimed the other. ' Is
it possible you do not know, or do not suspect, the
intrigue in which you move ? I find it in my heart
to pity you ! We are both women after all — poor
girl, poor girl ! — and who is born a woman is born a
fool. And though I hate all women — come, for the
common folly, I forgive you. Your Highness' — she
dropped a deep stage curtsey and resumed her fan
— ' I am going to insult you, to betray one who is
called my lover, and, if it pleases you to use the
power I now put unreservedly into your hands, to
ruin my dear self. O what a French comedy !
You betray, I betray, they betray. It is now my
cue. The letter, yes. Behold the letter, madam,
its seal unbroken as I found it by my bed this
morning ; for I was out of humour, and I get many,
too many, of these favours. For your own sake, for
the sake of my Prince Charming, for the sake of this
great principality that sits so heavy on your con-
science, open it and read ! '
' Am I to understand,' inquired the Princess, ' that
this letter in any way regards me ? '
' You see I have not opened it,' replied von Rosen;
' but 'tis mine, and I beg you to experiment.'
' I cannot look at it till you have,' returned Sera-
phina, very seriously. ' There may be matter there
not meant for me to see ; it is a private letter.'
The Countess tore it open, glanced it through,
and tossed it back ; and the Princess, taking up the
sheet, recognised the hand of Gondremark, and read
with a sickening shock the following lines : —
' Dearest Anna, come at once. Ratafia has done
the deed, her husband is to be packed to prison. This
puts the minx entirely in my power; le tour est
joue; she will now go steady in harness, or I will
know the reason why. Come. Heinrich.'
'Command yourself, madam,' said the Countess,
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
watching with some alarm the white face of Sera-
phina. ' It is in vain for you to fight with Gondre-
mark ; he has more strings than mere court favour,
and could bring you down to-morrow with a word.
I would not have betrayed him otherwise ; but
Heinrich is a man, and plays with all of you like
marionnettes. And now at least you see for what
you sacrificed my Prince. Madam, will you take
some wine ? I have been cruel.'
' Not cruel, madam — salutary,' said Seraphina,
with a phantom smile. ' No, I thank you, I re-
quire no attentions. The first surprise affected me :
will you give me time a little ? I must think.'
She took her head between her hands, and contem-
plated for a while the hurricane confusion of her
' This information reaches me,' she said, ' when I
have need of it. I would not do as you have done,
but yet I thank you. I have been much deceived in
' O, madam, leave Gondremark, and think upon
the Prince ! ' cried von Rosen.
' You speak once more as a private person,' said
the Princess ; ' nor do I blame you. But my own
thoughts are more distracted. However, as I be-
lieve you are truly a friend to my — to the as
I believe,' she said, ' you are a friend to Otto, I shall
put the order for his release into your hands this
moment. Give me the ink-dish. There ! ' And
she wrote hastily, steadying her arm upon the table,
for she trembled like a reed. ' Remember, madam,'
she resumed, handing her the order, 'this must not
be used nor spoken of at present ; till I have seen
the Baron, any hurried step — I lose myself in think-
ing. The suddenness has shaken me.'
1 1 promise you I will not use it,' said the Countess,
s till you give me leave, although I wish the Prince
could be informed of it, to comfort his poor heart.
And O, I had forgotten, he has left a letter. Suffer
me, madam ; I will bring it you. This is the door,
I think ? ' And she sought to open it.
' The bolt is pushed,' said Seraphina, flushing.
' O ! O ! ' cried the Countess.
A silence fell between them.
' I will get it for myself,' said Seraphina ; ' and in
the meanwhile I beg you to leave me. I thank you,
I am sure, but I shall be obliged if you will leave
The Countess deeply curtseyed, and withdrew.
9— n 193
RELATES THE CAUSE AND OUTBREAK OF THE
Brave as she was, and brave by intellect, the
Princess, when first she was alone, clung to the table
for support. The four corners of her universe had
fallen. She had never liked nor trusted Gondremark
completely ; she had still held it possible to find
him false to friendship ; but from that to finding him
devoid of all those public virtues for which she had
honoured him, a mere commonplace intriguer, using
her for his own ends, the step was wide and the
descent giddy. Light and darkness succeeded each
other in her brain ; now she believed, and now she
could not. She turned, blindly groping for the
note. But von Rosen, who had not forgotten to
take the warrant from the Prince, had remembered
to recover her note from the Princess : von Rosen
was an old campaigner, whose most violent emotion
aroused rather than clouded the vigour of her
The thought recalled to Seraphina the remem-
OUTBREAK OF THE REVOLUTION
brance of the other letter — Otto's. She rose and
went speedily, her brain still wheeling, and burst
into the Prince's armoury. The old chamberlain
was there in waiting ; and the sight of another face,
prying (or so she felt) on her distress, struck
Seraphina into childish anger.
' Go ! ' she cried ; and then, when the old man
was already half-way to the door, ' Stay ! ' she added.
'As soon as Baron Gondremark arrives, let him
attend me here.'
' It shall be so directed,' said the chamberlain.
'There was a letter . . .' she began, and paused.
' Her Highness,' said the chamberlain, 'will find a
letter on the table. I had received no orders, or
Her Highness had been spared this trouble.'
' No, no, no,' she cried. ' I thank you. I desire
to be alone.'
And then, when he was gone, she leaped upon the
letter. Her mind was still obscured ; like the moon
upon a night of clouds and wind, her reason shone
and was darkened ; and she read the words by
' Seraphina,' the Prince wrote, * I will write no
syllable of reproach. I have seen your order, and I go.
What else is left me ? I have wasted my love, and
have no more. To say that I forgive you is not need-
ful : at least, we are now separate for ever ; by your
own act, you free me from my willing bondage : I go
free to prison. This is the last that you will hear of
me in love or anger. I have gone out of your life ;
you may breathe easy ; you have now rid yourself of
THE CAUSE AND OUTBREAK
the husband who allowed you to desert him, of the
Prince who gave you his rights, and of the married
lover who made it his pride to defend you in your
absence. How you have requited him, your own
heart more loudly tells you than my words. There
is a day coming when your vain dreams will roll
away like clouds, and you will find yourself alone.
Then you will remember Otto.'
She read with a great horror on her mind ; that
day, of which he wrote, was come. She was alone ;
she had been false, she had been cruel ; remorse
rolled in upon her ; and then with a more piercing
note, vanity bounded on the stage of consciousness.
She a dupe ! she helpless ! she to have betrayed her-
self in seeking to betray her husband ! she to have
lived these years upon flattery, grossly swallowing
the bolus, like a clown with sharpers ! she —
Seraphina ! Her swift mind drank the consequences ;
she foresaw the coming fall, her public shame ; she
saw the odium, disgrace, and folly of her story flaunt
through Europe. She recalled the scandal she had
so royally braved ; and, alas ! she had now no courage
to confront it with. To be thought the mistress of
that man : perhaps for that. . . . She closed her
eyes on agonising vistas. Swift as thought she had
snatched a bright dagger from the weapons that
shone along the wall. Ay, she would escape. From
that world-wide theatre of nodding heads and buzz-
ing whisperers, in which she now beheld herself
unpitiably martyred, one door stood open. At any
OF THE REVOLUTION
cost, through any stress of suffering, that greasy-
laughter should be stifled. She closed her eyes,
breathed a wordless prayer, and pressed the weapon
to her bosom.
At the astonishing sharpness of the prick, she gave
a cry and awoke to a sense of undeserved escape. A
little ruby spot of blood was the reward of that great
act of desperation ; but the pain had braced her like
a tonic, and her whole design of suicide had passed
At the same instant regular feet drew near along
the gallery, and she knew the tread of the big Baron,
so often gladly welcome, and even now rallying her
spirits like a call to battle. She concealed the
dagger in the folds of her skirt ; and drawing her
stature up, she stood firm-footed, radiant with anger,
waiting for the foe.
The Baron was announced, and entered. To him,
Seraphina was a hated task : like the schoolboy with
his Virgil, he had neither will nor leisure to remark
her beauties ; but when he now beheld her standing
illuminated by her passion, new feelings flashed
upon him, a frank admiration, a brief sparkle of
desire. He noted both with joy ; they were means.
'If I have to play the lover,' thought he, for that
was his constant pre-occupation, ' I believe I can put
soul into it.' Meanwhile, with his usual ponderous
grace, he bent before the lady.
' I propose,' she said in a strange voice, not known
to her till then, ' that we release the Prince and do
not prosecute the war.'
THE CAUSE AND OUTBREAK
'Ah, madam,' he replied, ''tis as I knew it would
be ! Your heart, I knew, would wound you when
we came to this distasteful but most necessary step.
Ah, madam, believe me, I am not unworthy to be
your ally ; I know you have qualities to which I am
a stranger, and count them the best weapons in the
armoury of our alliance : — the girl in the queen —
pity, love, tenderness, laughter ; the smile that can
reward. I can only command ; I am the frowner.
But you ! And you have the fortitude to command
these comely weaknesses, to tread them down at the
call of reason. How often have I not admired it
even to yourself! Ay, even to yourself,' he added
tenderly, dwelling, it seemed, in memory on hours
of more private admiration. ' But now, madam '
'But now, Herr von Gondremark, the time for
these declarations has gone by,' she cried. 'Are
you true to me ? are you false 1 Look in your
heart and answer : it is your heart I want to know.'
' It has come,' thought Gondremark. ' You,
madam ! ' he cried, starting back — with fear, you
would have said, and yet a timid joy. ' You ! your-
self, you bid me look into my heart ? '
' Do you suppose I fear ? ' she cried, and looked
at him with such a heightened colour, such bright
eyes, and a smile of so abstruse a meaning that the
Baron discarded his last doubt.
' Ah, madam ! ' he cried, plumping on his knees.
' Seraphina ! Do you permit me ? have you divined
my secret ? It is true — I put my life with joy into
your power — I love you, love with ardour, as an
OF THE REVOLUTION
equal, as a mistress, as a brother-in-arms, as an
adored, desired, sweet-hearted woman. O Bride ! '
he cried, waxing dithyrambic, 'bride of my reason
and my senses, have pity, have pity on my love ! '
She heard him with wonder, rage, and then con-
tempt. His words offended her to sickness; his
appearance, as he grovelled bulkily upon the floor,
moved her to such laughter as we laugh in
'O shame!' she cried. 'Absurd and odious!
What would the Countess say ? '
That great Baron Gondremark, the excellent
politician, remained for some little time upon his
knees in a frame of mind which perhaps we are
allowed to pity. His vanity, within his iron bosom,
bled and raved. If he could have blotted all, if he
could have withdrawn part, if he had not called her
bride — with a roaring in his ears, he thus regretfully
reviewed his declaration. He got to his feet totter-
ing ; and then, in that first moment when a dumb
agony finds a vent in words, and the tongue betrays
the inmost and worst of a man, he permitted himself
a retort which, for six weeks to follow, he was to
repent at leisure.
'Ah,' said he, 'the Countess? Now I perceive
the reason of your Highness's disorder. '
The lackey-like insolence of the words was driven
home by a more insolent manner. There fell upon
Seraphina one of those storm-clouds which had already
blackened upon her reason; she heard herself cry
out ; and when the cloud dispersed, flung the blood-
THE CAUSE AND OUTBREAK
stained dagger on the floor, and saw Gondremark
reeling back with open mouth and clapping his hand
upon the wound. The next moment, with oaths that
she had never heard, he leaped at her in savage
passion ; clutched her as she recoiled ; and in the
very act, stumbled and drooped. She had scarce
time to fear his murderous onslaught ere he fell
before her feet.
He rose upon one elbow ; she still staring upon
him, white with horror.
' Anna ! ' he cried, ' Anna ! Help ! '
And then his utterance failed him, and he fell
back, to all appearance dead.
Seraphina ran to and fro in the room ; she wrung
her hands and cried aloud ; within she was all one
uproar of terror, and conscious of no articulate wish
but to awake.
There came a knocking at the door; and she
sprang to it and held it, panting like a beast, and with
the strength of madness in her arms, till she had
pushed the bolt. At this success a certain calm fell
upon her reason. She went back and looked upon
her victim, the knocking growing louder. O yes, he
was dead. She had killed him. He had called upon
von Rosen with his latest breath ; ah ! who would
call on Seraphina ? She had killed him. She, whose
irresolute hand could scarce prick blood from her own
bosom, had found strength to cast down that great
colossus at a blow.
All this while the knocking was growing more
uproarious and more unlike the staid career of life in
OF THE REVOLUTION
such a palace. Scandal was at the door, with what
a fatal following she dreaded to conceive ; and at the
same time among the voices that now began to
summon her by name, she recognised the Chancellor's.
He or another, somebody must be the first.
* Is Herr von Greisengesang without ? ' she
' Your Highness — yes ! ' the old gentleman
answered. ' We have heard cries, a fall. Is any-
thing amiss ? '
' Nothing,' replied Seraphina. ' I desire to speak
with you. Send off the rest' She panted between
each phrase ; but her mind was clear. She let the
looped curtain down upon both sides before she
drew the bolt ; and, thus secure from any sudden
eyeshot from without, admitted the obsequious
Chancellor and again made fast the door.
Greisengesang clumsily revolved among the wings
of the curtain ; so that she was clear of it as soon
* My God ! ' he cried. ' The Baron ! '
•' I have killed him,' she said. ' O, killed him ! '
' Dear me,' said the old gentleman, ' this is most
unprecedented. Lovers' quarrels,' he added ruefully,
' redintegratio ' and then paused. ' But, my dear
madam,' he broke out again, ' in the name of all that
is practical, what are we to do ? This is exceedingly
grave ; morally, madam, it is appalling. I take the
liberty, your Highness, for one moment, of address-
ing you as a daughter, a loved although respected
daughter ; and I must say that I cannot conceal from
THE CAUSE AND OUTBREAK
you that this is morally most questionable. And,
O dear me, we have a dead body ! '
She had watched him closely ; hope fell to con-
tempt ; she drew away her skirts from his weakness,
and, in the act, her own strength returned to her.
' See if he be dead,' she said ; not one word of
explanation or defence ; she had scorned to justify
herself before so poor a creature : ' See if he be dead '
With the greatest compunction the Chancellor
drew near; and as he did so the wounded Baron
rolled his eyes.
' He lives,' cried the old courtier, turning effusively
to Seraphina. ' Madam, he still lives.'
' Help him, then,' returned the Princess, standing
fixed. ' Bind up his wound.'
'Madam, I have no means,' protested the Chan-
' Can you not take your handkerchief, your neck-
cloth, anything ? ' she cried ; and at the same moment,
from her light muslin gown she rent off a flounce and
tossed it on the floor. ' Take that,' she said, and for
the first time directly faced Greisengesang.
But the Chancellor held up his hands and turned
away his head in agony. The grasp of the falling
Baron had torn down the dainty fabric of the bodice ;
and — ' O Highness ! ' cried Greisengesang, appalled,
' the terrible disorder of your toilette ! '
' Take up that flounce,' she said ; ' the man may
Greisengesang turned in a flutter to the Baron, and
OF THE REVOLUTION
attempted some innocent and bungling measures.
* He still breathes,' he kept saying. ' All is not yet
over ; he is not yet gone.'
* And now,' said she, ' if that is all you can do,
begone and get some porters ; he must instantly go
'Madam,' cried the Chancellor, 'if this most
melancholy sight were seen in town — O dear, the
State would fall ! ' he piped.
' There is a litter in the Palace,' she replied. • It
is your part to see him safe. I lay commands upon
you. On your life it stands.'
' I see it, dear Highness,' he jerked. ' Clearly I see
it. But how ? what men ? The Prince's servants —
yes. They had a personal affection. They will be
true, if any.'
* O, not them ! ' she cried. « Take Sabra, my own
' Sabra ! The grand-mason ? ' returned the Chan-
cellor, aghast. ' If he but saw this, he would sound
the tocsin — we should all be butchered.'
She measured the depth of her abasement steadily.
' Take whom you must,' she said, ' and bring the litter
Once she was alone she ran to the Baron, and
with a sickening heart sought to allay the flux of
blood. The touch of the skin of that great char-
latan revolted her to the toes ; the wound, in her
ignorant eyes, looked deathly ; yet she contended
with her shuddering, and, with more skill at least
than the Chancellor's, staunched the welling injury.
THE CAUSE AND OUTBREAK
An eye unprejudiced with hate would have admired
the Baron in his swoon ; he looked so great and
shapely ; it was so powerful a machine that lay
arrested ; and his features, cleared for the moment
both of temper and dissimulation, were seen to be so
purely modelled. But it was not thus with Seraphina.
Her victim, as he lay outspread, twitching a little, his
big chest unbared, fixed her with his ugliness ; and
her mind flitted for a glimpse to Otto.
Rumours began to sound about the Palace of feet
running and of voices raised ; the echoes of the great
arched staircase were voluble of some confusion ; and
then the gallery jarred with a quick and heavy tramp.
It was the Chancellor, followed by four of Otto's
valets and a litter. The servants, when they were
admitted, stared at the dishevelled Princess and the
wounded man ; speech was denied them, but their
thoughts were riddled with profanity. Gondremark
was bundled in ; the curtains of the litter were
lowered ; the bearers carried it forth, and the Chan-
cellor followed behind with a white face.
Seraphina ran to the window. Pressing her face
upon the pane, she could see the terrace, where the
lights contended ; thence, the avenue of lamps that
joined the Palace and town ; and overhead the hollow
night and the larger stars. Presently the small pro-
cession issued from the Palace, crossed the parade, and
began to thread the glittering alley : the swinging
couch with its four porters, the much-pondering
Chancellor behind. She watched them dwindle with
strange thoughts : her eyes fixed upon the scene, her
OF THE REVOLUTION
mind still glancing right and left on the overthrow of
her life and hopes. There was no one left in whom
she might confide ; none whose hand was friendly, or
on whom she dared to reckon for the barest loyalty.
With the fall of Gondremark, her party, her brief
popularity, had fallen. So she sat crouched upon the
window-seat, her brow to the cool pane ; her dress in
tatters, barely shielding her ; her mind revolving bitter
Meanwhile, consequences were fast mounting ; and
in the deceptive quiet of the night downfall and red
revolt were brewing. The litter had passed forth
between the iron gates and entered on the streets of
the town. By what flying panic, by what thrill of
air communicated, who shall say ? but the passing
bustle in the Palace had already reached and re-
echoed in the region of the burghers. Rumour,
with her loud whisper, hissed about the town ; men
left their homes without knowing why ; knots formed
along the boulevard ; under the rare lamps and the
great limes the crowd grew blacker.
And now through the midst of that expectant
company, the unusual sight of a closed litter was
observed approaching, and trotting hard behind it
that great dignitary Cancellarius Greisengesang.
Silence looked on as it went by ; and as soon as it
was passed, the whispering seethed over like a boiling
pot. The knots were sundered ; and gradually, one
following another, the whole mob began to form into
a procession and escort the curtained litter. Soon
spokesmen, a little bolder than their mates, began to
OUTBREAK OF THE REVOLUTION
ply the Chancellor with questions. Never had he
more need of that great art of falsehood, by whose
exercise he had so richly lived. And yet now he
stumbled, the master passion, fear, betraying him.
He was pressed ; he became incoherent ; and then
from the jolting litter came a groan. In the instant
hubbub and the gathering of the crowd as to a natural
signal, the clear-eyed quavering Chancellor heard the
catch of the clock before it strikes the hour of doom ;
and for ten seconds he forgot himself. This shall
atone for many sins. He plucked a bearer by the
sleeve. 'Bid the Princess flee. All is lost,' he
whispered. And the next moment he was babbling
for his life among the multitude.
Five minutes later the wild-eyed servant burst
into the armoury. ' All is lost ! ' he cried. « The
Chancellor bids you flee.' And at the same time,
looking through the window, Seraphina saw the black
rush of the populace begin to invade the lamplit
' Thank you, Georg,' she said. ' I thank you.
Go.' And as the man still lingered, ' I bid you go,'
she added. ' Save yourself. '
Down by the private passage, and just some two
hours later, Amalia Seraphina, the last Princess, fol-
lowed Otto Johann Friedrich, the last Prince of
The porter, drawn by the growing turmoil, had
vanished from the postern, and the door stood open
on the darkness of the night. As Seraphina fled up
the terraces, the cries and loud footing of the mob
drew nearer the doomed palace ; the rush was like
the rush of cavalry ; the sound of shattering lamps
tingled above the rest; and, overtowering all, she
heard her own name bandied among the shouters.
A bugle sounded at the door of the guard-room ;
one gun was fired ; and then, with the yell of hun-
dreds, Mittwalden Palace was carried at a rush.
Sped by these dire sounds and voices, the Princess
scaled the long garden, skimming like a bird the
starlit stairways ; crossed the Park, which was in
that place narrow ; and plunged upon the farther
side into the rude shelter of the forest. So, at a
bound, she left the discretion and the cheerful lamps
of Palace evenings ; ceased utterly to be a sovereign
lady ; and, falling from the whole height of civilisa-
tion, ran forth into the woods, a ragged Cinderella,
9 — o 209
She went direct before her through an open tract
of the forest, full of brush and birches, and where
the starlight guided her; and, beyond that again,
must thread the columned blackness of a pine grove
joining overhead the thatch of its long branches.
At that hour the place was breathless ; a horror of
night like a presence occupied that dungeon of the
wood ; and she went groping, knocking against the
boles — her ear, betweenwhiles, strained to aching
and yet unrewarded.
But the slope of the ground was upward, and
encouraged her ; and presently she issued on a rocky
hill that stood forth above the sea of forest. All
around were other hill-tops, big and little ; sable vales
of forest between ; overhead the open heaven and
the brilliancy of countless stars ; and along the
western sky the dim forms of mountains. The
glory of the great night laid hold upon her ; her
eyes shone with stars ; she dipped her sight into the
coolness and brightness of the sky, as she might
have dipped her wrist into a spring ; and her heart,
at that ethereal shock, began to move more soberly.
The sun that sails overhead, ploughing into gold the
fields of daylight azure and uttering the signal to
man's myriads, has no word apart for man the in-
dividual; and the moon, like a violin, only praises
and laments our private destiny. The stars alone,
cheerful whisperers, confer quietly with each of us
like friends ; they give ear to our sorrows smilingly,
like wise old men, rich in tolerance; and by their
double scale, so small to the eye, so vast to the
imagination, they keep before the mind the double
character of man's nature and fate.
There sat the Princess, beautifully looking upon
beauty, in council with these glad advisers. Bright
like pictures, clear like a voice in the porches of her
ear, memory re-enacted the tumult of the evening :
the Countess and the dancing fan, the big Baron on
his knees, the blood on the polished floor, the knock-
ing, the swing of the litter down the avenue of lamps,
the messenger, the cries of the charging mob ; and
yet all were far away and phantasmal, and she was
still healingly conscious of the peace and glory of the
night. She looked towards Mittwalden ; and above
the hill-top, which already hid it from her view, a
throbbing redness hinted of fire. Better so : better
so, that she should fall with tragic greatness, lit by a
blazing palace ! She felt not a trace of pity for
Gondremark or of concern for Griinewald : that
period of her life was closed for ever, a wrench
of wounded vanity alone surviving. She had but
one clear idea : to flee ;— and another, obscure and
half-rejected, although still obeyed : to flee in the
direction of the Felsenburg. She had a duty to per-
form, she must free Otto — so her mind said, very
coldly ; but her heart embraced the notion of that
duty even with ardour, and her hands began to yearn
for the grasp of kindness.
She rose, with a start of recollection, and plunged
down the slope into the covert. The woods received
and closed upon her. Once more, she wandered and
hasted in a blot, uncheered, unpiloted. Here and
there, indeed, through rents in the wood-roof, a
glimmer attracted her ; here and there a tree stood
out among its neighbours by some force of outline ;
here and there a brushing among the leaves, a
notable blackness, a dim shine, relieved, only to
exaggerate, the solid oppression of the night and
silence. And betweenwhiles, the unfeatured dark-
ness would redouble and the whole ear of night
appear to be gloating on her steps. Now she would
stand still, and the silence would grow and grow, till
it weighed upon her breathing ; and then she would
address herself again to run, stumbling, falling, and
still hurrying the more. And presently the whole
wood rocked and began to run along with her. The
noise of her own mad passage through the silence
spread and echoed, and filled the night with terror.
Panic hunted her : Panic from the trees reached
forth with clutching branches ; the darkness was lit
up and peopled with strange forms and faces. She
strangled and fled before her fears. And yet in the
last fortress, reason, blown upon by these gusts of
terror, still shone with a troubled light. She knew,
yet could not act upon her knowledge ; she knew
that she must stop, and yet she still ran.
She was already near madness, when she broke
suddenly into a narrow clearing. At the same time
the din grew louder, and she became conscious of
vague forms and fields of whiteness. And with that
the earth gave way ; she fell and found her feet again
with an incredible shock to her senses, and her mind
was swallowed up.
When she came again to herself she was standing
to the mid-leg in an icy eddy of a brook, and leaning
with one hand on the rock from which it poured.
The spray had wet her hair. She saw the white
cascade, the stars wavering in the shaken pool, foam
flitting, and high overhead the tall pines on either
hand serenely drinking starshine ; and in the sudden
quiet of her spirit she heard with joy the firm
plunge of the cataract in the pool. She scrambled
forth dripping. In the face of her proved weakness,
to adventure again upon the horror of blackness in
the groves were a suicide of life or reason. But
here, in the alley of the brook, with the kind stars
above her, and the moon presently swimming into
sight, she could await the coming of day without
This lane of pine-trees ran very rapidly down hill
and wound among the woods ; but it was a wider
thoroughfare than the brook needed, and here and
there were little dimpling lawns and coves of the
forest, where the starshine slumbered. Such a lawn
she paced, taking patience bravely ; and now she
looked up the hill and saw the brook coming down
to her in a series of cascades ; and now approached
the margin, where it welled among the rushes
silently; and now gazed at the great company of
heaven with an enduring wonder. The early even-
ing had fallen chill, but the night was now tem-
perate ; out of the recesses of the wood there came
mild airs as from a deep and peaceful breathing ;
and the dew was heavy on the grass and the tight-
shut daisies. This was the girl's first night under
the naked heaven ; and now that her fears were
overpast, she was touched to the soul by its serene
amenity and peace. Kindly the host of heaven
blinked down upon that wandering Princess ; and
the honest brook had no words but to encourage
At last she began to be aware of a wonderful
revolution, compared to which the fire of Mitt-
walden Palace was but the crack and flash of a
percussion-cap. The countenance with which the
pines regarded her began insensibly to change ; the
grass too, short as it was, and the whole winding
staircase of the brook's course, began to wear a
solemn freshness of appearance. And this slow
transfiguration reached her heart, and played upon
it, and transpierced it with a serious thrill. She
looked all about ; the whole face of nature looked
back, brimful of meaning, finger on lip, leaking its
glad secret. She looked up. Heaven was almost
emptied of stars. Such as still lingered shone with
a changed and waning brightness, and began to faint
in their stations. And the colour of the sky itself
was the most wonderful ; for the rich blue of the
night had now melted and softened and brightened ;
and there had succeeded in its place a hue that has
no name, and that is never seen but as the herald
of morning. ' O ! ' she cried, joy catching at her
voice, ' O ! it is the dawn ! '
In a breath she passed over the brook, and looped
up her skirts and fairly ran in the dim alleys. As
she ran, her ears were aware of many pipings, more
beautiful than music ; in the small dish-shaped
houses in the fork of giant arms, where they had
lain all night, lover by lover, warmly pressed, the
bright-eyed, big-hearted singers began to awaken
for the day. Her heart melted and flowed forth
to them in kindness. And they, from their small
and high perches in the clerestories of the wood
cathedral, peered down sidelong at the ragged Prin-
cess as she flitted below them on the carpet of the
moss and tassel.
Soon she had struggled to a certain hill- top, and
saw far before her the silent inflooding of the day.
Out of the East it welled and whitened ; the dark-
ness trembled into light; and the stars were ex-
tinguished like the street-lamps of a human city.
The whiteness brightened into silver, the silver
warmed into gold, the gold kindled into pure and
living fire; and the face of the East was barred
with elemental scarlet. The day drew its first long
breath, steady and chill; and for leagues around
the woods sighed and shivered. And then, at one
bound, the sun had floated up ; and her startled
eyes received day's first arrow, and quailed under
the buffet. On every side, the shadows leaped from
their ambush and fell prone. The day was come,
plain and garish ; and up the steep and solitary
eastern heaven, the sun, victorious over his com-
petitors, continued slowly and royally to mount.
Seraphina drooped for a little, leaning on a pine,
the shrill joy of the woodlands mocking her. The
shelter of the night, the thrilling and joyous changes
of the dawn, were over ; and now, in the hot eye of
the day, she turned uneasily and looked sighingly
about her. Some way off among the lower woods
a pillar of smoke was mounting and melting in the
gold and blue. There, surely enough, were human
folk, the hearth-surrounders. Man's fingers had laid
the twigs ; it was man's breath that had quickened
and encouraged the baby flames ; and now, as the
fire caught, it would be playing ruddily on the face
of its creator. At the thought, she felt a-cold and
little and lost in that great out-of-doors. The
electric shock of the young sunbeams and the un-
human beauty of the woods began to irk and daunt
her. The covert of the house, the decent privacy of
rooms, the swept and regulated fire, all that denotes
or beautifies the home life of man, began to draw
her as with cords. The pillar of smoke was now
risen into some stream of moving air ; it began to
lean out sideways in a pennon ; and thereupon, as
though the change had been a summons, Seraphina
plunged once more into the labyrinth of the wood.
She left day upon the high ground. In the lower
groves there still lingered the blue early twilight and
the seizing freshness of the dew. But here and
there, above this field of shadow, the head of a great
outspread pine was already glorious with day ; and
here and there, through the breaches of the hills, the
sunbeams made a great and luminous entry. Here
Seraphina hastened along forest paths. She had lost
sight of the pilot smoke, which blew another way,
and conducted herself in that great wilderness by
the direction of the sun. But presently fresh signs
bespoke the neighbourhood of man ; felled trunks,
white slivers from the axe, bundles of green boughs,
and stacks of firewood. These guided her forward ;
until she came forth at last upon the clearing whence
the smoke arose. A hut stood in the clear shadow,
hard by a brook which made a series of inconsider-
able falls ; and on the threshold the Princess saw
a sun-burnt and hard-featured woodman, standing
with his hands behind his back and gazing sky-
She went to him directly : a beautiful, bright-
eyed, and haggard vision ; splendidly arrayed and
pitifully tattered ; the diamond ear-drops still glit-
tering in her ears ; and with the movement of
her coining, one small breast showing and hiding
among the ragged covert of the laces. At that
ambiguous hour, and coming as she did from the
great silence of the forest, the man drew back from
the Princess as from something elfin.
' I am cold,' she said, ' and weary. Let me rest
beside your fire.'
The woodman was visibly commoved, but answered
' I will pay,' she said, and then repented of the
words, catching perhaps a spark of terror from his
frightened eyes. But, as usual, her courage re-
kindled brighter for the check. She put him from
the door and entered ; and he followed her in super-
Within, the hut was rough and dark ; but on the
stone that served as hearth, twigs and a few dry
branches burned with the brisk sounds and all the
variable beauty of fire. The very sight of it com-
posed her ; she crouched hard by on the earth floor
and shivered in the glow, and looked upon the
eating blaze with admiration. The woodman was
still staring at his guest ; at the wreck of the rich
dress, the bare arms, the bedraggled laces and the
gems. He found no word to utter.
' Give me food,' said she, — * here, by the fire.'
He set down a pitcher of coarse wine, bread,
a piece of cheese, and a handful of raw onions.
The bread was hard and sour, the cheese like
leather; even the onion, which ranks with the
truffle and the nectarine in the chief place of
honour of earth's fruits, is not perhaps a dish for
princesses when raw. But she ate, if not with
appetite, with courage ; and when she had eaten,
did not disdain the pitcher. In all her life before,
she had not tasted of gross food nor drunk after
another ; but a brave woman far more readily
accepts a change of circumstances than the bravest
man. All that while, the woodman continued to
observe her furtively, many low thoughts of fear
and greed contending in his eyes. She read them
clearly, and she knew she must be gone.
Presently she arose and offered him a florin.
' Will that repay you ? ' she asked.
But here the man found his tongue. 'I must
have more than that,' said he.
' It is all I have to give you,' she returned, and
passed him by serenely.
Yet her heart trembled, for she saw his hand
stretched forth as if to arrest her, and his unsteady
eyes wandering to his axe. A beaten path led west-
ward from the clearing, and she swiftly followed it
She did not glance behind her. But as soon as the
least turning of the path had concealed her from the
woodman's eyes, she slipped among the trees and
ran till she deemed herself in safety.
By this time the strong sunshine pierced in a
thousand places the pine-thatch of the forest, fired
the red boles, irradiated the cool aisles of shadow,
and burned in jewels on the grass. The gum of
these trees was dearer to the senses than the gums
of Araby ; each pine, in the lusty morning sunlight,
burned its own wood-incense ; and now and then a
breeze would rise and toss these rooted censers, and
send shade and sun-gem flitting, swift as swallows,
thick as bees ; and wake a brushing bustle of sounds
that murmured and went by.
On she passed, and up and down, in sun and
shadow ; now aloft on the bare ridge among the
rocks and birches, with the lizards and the snakes ;
and anon in the deep grove among sunless pillars.
Now she followed wandering wood-paths, in the
maze of valleys ; and again, from a hill- top, beheld
the distant mountains and the great birds circling
under the sky. She would see afar off a nestling
hamlet, and go round to avoid it. Below, she traced
the course of the foam of mountain torrents. Nearer
hand, she saw where the tender springs welled up in
silence, or oozed in green moss ; or in the more
favoured hollows a whole family of infant rivers
would combine, and tinkle in the stones, and lie in
pools to be a bathing-place for sparrows, or fall from
the sheer rock in rods of crystal. Upon all these
things, as she still sped along in the bright air, she
looked with a rapture of surprise and a joyful faint-
ing of the heart ; they seemed so novel, they touched
so strangely home, they were so hued and scented,
they were so beset and canopied by the dome of the
blue air of heaven.
At length, when she was well weary, she came
upon a wide and shallow pool. Stones stood in it,
like islands ; bulrushes fringed the coast ; the floor
was paved with the pine needles ; and the pines
themselves, whose roots made promontories, looked
down silently on their green images. She crept to
the margin and beheld herself with wonder, a hollow
and bright-eyed phantom, in the ruins of her palace
robe. The breeze now shook her image ; now it
would be marred with flies ; and at that she smiled ;
and from the fading circles, her counterpart smiled
back to her and looked kind. She sat long in the
warm sun, and pitied her bare arms that were all
bruised and marred with falling, and marvelled to
see that she was dirty, and could not grow to believe
that she had gone so long in such a strange disorder.
Then, with a sigh, she addressed herself to make a
toilet by that forest mirror, washed herself pure from
all the stains of her adventure, took off her jewels
and wrapped them in her handkerchief, re-arranged
the tatters of her dress, and took down the folds of
her hair. She shook it round her face, and the pool
repeated her thus veiled. Her hair had smelt like
violets, she remembered Otto saying ; and so now
she tried to smell it, and then shook her head, and
laughed a little, sadly, to herself.
The laugh was returned upon her in a childish
echo. She looked up ; and lo ! two children look-
ing on, — a small girl and a yet smaller boy, standing,
like playthings, by the pool, below a spreading pine.
Seraphina was not fond of children, and now she
was startled to the heart.
' Who are you ? ' she cried hoarsely.
The mites huddled together and drew back ; and
Seraphina's heart reproached her that she should
have frightened things so quaint and little, and yet
alive with senses. She thought upon the birds and
looked again at her two visitors ; so little larger and
so far more innocent. On their clear faces, as in a
pool, she saw the reflection of their fears. With
gracious purpose she arose.
'Come,' she said, 'do not be afraid of me,' and
took a step towards them.
But alas ! at the first moment the two poor babes
in the wood turned and ran helter-skelter from the
The most desolate pang was struck into the girl's
heart. Here she was, twenty-two — soon twenty-
three — and not a creature loved her ; none but
Otto ; and would even he forgive ? If she began
weeping in these woods alone, it would mean death
or madness. Hastily she trod the thoughts out like
a burning paper; hastily rolled up her locks, and
with terror dogging her, and her whole bosom sick
with grief, resumed her journey.
Past ten in the forenoon, she struck a high-road,
marching in that place uphill between two stately
groves, a river of sunlight; and here, dead weary,
careless of consequences, and taking some courage
from the human and civilised neighbourhood of the
road, she stretched herself on the green margin in
the shadow of a tree. Sleep closed on her, at first
with a horror of fainting, but when she ceased to
struggle, kindly embracing her. So she was taken
home for a little, from all her toils and sorrows, to
her Father's arms. And there in the meanwhile her
body lay exposed by the highwayside, in tattered
finery ; and on either hand from the woods the
birds came flying by and calling upon others, and
debated in their own tongue this strange appear-
The sun pursued his journey ; the shadow flitted
from her feet, shrank higher and higher, and was
upon the point of leaving her altogether, when the
rumble of a coach was signalled to and fro by
the birds. The road in that part was very steep ; the
rumble drew near with great deliberation ; and ten
minutes passed before a gentleman appeared, walk-
ing with a sober elderly gait upon the grassy margin
of the highway, and looking pleasantly around him
as he walked. From time to time he paused, took
out his note-book and made an entry with a pencil ;
and any spy who had been near enough would have
heard him mumbling words as though he were a poet
testing verses. The voice of the wheels was still
faint, and it was plain the traveller had far out-
stripped his carriage.
He had drawn very near to where the Princess lay
asleep, before his eye alighted on her; but when
it did he started, pocketed his note-book, and
approached. There was a milestone close to where
she lay ; and he sat down on that and coolly studied
her. She lay upon one side, all curled and sunken,
her brow on one bare arm, the other stretched out,
limp and dimpled. Her young body, like a thing
thrown down, had scarce a mark of life. Her breath-
ing stirred her not. The deadliest fatigue was thus
confessed in every language of the sleeping flesh.
The traveller smiled grimly. As though he had
looked upon a statue, he made a grudging inventory
of her charms : the figure in that touching freedom
of forgetfulness surprised him ; the flush of slumber
became her like a flower.
' Upon my word,' he thought, ' I did not think the
girl could be so pretty. And to think,' he added,
* that I am under obligation not to use one word of
this ! '
He put forth his stick and touched her ; and at
that she awoke, sat up with a cry, and looked upon
* I trust your Highness has slept well,' he said,
But she only uttered sounds.
' Compose yourself,' said he, giving her certainly a
brave example in his own demeanour. • My chaise
is close at hand ; and I shall have, I trust, the
singular entertainment of abducting a sovereign
' Sir John ! ' she said at last.
' At your Higlmess's disposal,' he replied.
She sprang to her feet. ' O,' she cried, 'have you
come from Mittwalden ? '
' This morning,' he returned, ' I left it ; and if
there is any one less likely to return to it than
yourself, behold him ! '
' The Baron ' she began, and paused.
'Madam,' he answered, 'it was well meant, and
you are quite a Judith ; but after the hours that
have elapsed you will probably be relieved to hear
that he is fairly well. I took his news this morning
ere I left. Doing fairly well, they said, but suffer-
ing acutely. Hey ? — acutely. They could hear his
groans in the next room.'
' And the Prince,' she asked, ' is anything known
of him ? '
' It is reported,' replied Sir John, with the same
pleasurable deliberation, ' that upon that point your
Highness is the best authority.'
' Sir John,' she said eagerly, ' you were generous
enough to speak about your carriage. Will you, I
beseech you, will you take me to the Felsenburg ?
I have business there of an extreme importance.'
' I can refuse you nothing,' replied the old gentle-
man, gravely and seriously enough. 'Whatever,
madam, it is in my power to do for you, that shall
be done with pleasure. As soon as my chaise shall
overtake us, it is yours to carry you where you will.
But,' added he, reverting to his former manner, 'I
observe you ask me nothing of the Palace.'
'I do not care,' she said. 'I thought I saw it
' Prodigious ! ' said the Baronet. ' You thought ?
And can the loss of forty toilettes leave you cold ?
Well, madam, I admire your fortitude. And the
state, too ? As I left, the government was sitting —
the new government, of which at least two members
must be known to you by name : Sabra, who had,
I believe, the benefit of being formed in your em-
ployment — a footman, — am I right? — and our old
friend the Chancellor, in something of a subaltern
position. But in these convulsions the last shall
be first, and the first last.'
' Sir John,' she said with an air of perfect honesty,
' I am sure you mean most kindly, but these matters
have no interest for me.'
The Baronet was so utterly discountenanced that
he hailed the appearance of his chaise with welcome,
and, by way of saying something, proposed that
they should walk back to meet it. So it was done ;
and he helped her in with courtesy, mounted to her
side, and from various receptacles (for the chaise
was most completely fitted out) produced fruits and
truffled liver, beautiful white bread, and a bottle of
delicate wine. With these he served her like a
9— p 225
father, coaxing and praising her to fresh exertions ;
and during all that time, as though silenced by the
laws of hospitality, he was not guilty of the shadow
of a sneer. Indeed, his kindness seemed so genuine
that Seraphina was moved to gratitude.
' Sir John,' she said, ' you hate me in your heart ;
why are you so kind to me ? '
'Ah, my good lady,' said he, with no disclaimer
of the accusation, 'I have the honour to be much
your husband's friend, and somewhat his admirer.'
' You ! ' she cried. ' They told me you wrote
cruelly of both of us.'
' Such was the strange path by which we grew
acquainted,' said Sir John. ' I had written, madam,
with particular cruelty (since that shall be the
phrase) of your fair self. Your husband set me at
liberty, gave me a passport, ordered a carriage, and
then, with the most boyish spirit, challenged me to
fight. Knowing the nature of his married life, I
thought the dash and loyalty he showed delightful.
" Do not be afraid," says he ; " if I am killed, there
is nobody to miss me." It appears you subsequently
thought of that yourself. But I digress. I explained
to him it was impossible that I could fight ! " Not
if I strike you ? " says he. Very droll ; I wish I
could have put it in my book. However, I was
conquered, took the young gentleman to my high
favour, and tore up my bits of scandal on the spot.
That is one of the little favours, madam, that you
owe your husband.'
Seraphina sat for some while in silence. She
could bear to be misjudged without a pang by those
whom she contemned; she had none of Otto's
eagerness to be approved, but went her own way
straight and head in air. To Sir John, however,
after what he had said, and as her husband's friend,
she was prepared to stoop.
' What do you think of me ? ' she asked abruptly.
' I have told you already,' said Sir John. ' I think
you want another glass of my good wine.'
'Come,' she said, 'this is unlike you. You are
not wont to be afraid. You say that you admire my
husband : in his name, be honest.'
'I admire your courage,' said the Baronet. 'Be-
yond that, as you have guessed, and indeed said, our
natures are not sympathetic'
'You spoke of scandal,' pursued Seraphina. ' Was
the scandal great ? '
' It was considerable,' said Sir John.
' And you believed it ? ' she demanded.
' O, madam,' said Sir John, ' the question ! '
' Thank you for that answer ! ' cried Seraphina.
' And now here, I will tell you, upon my honour,
upon my soul, in spite of all the scandal in this
world, I am as true a wife as ever stood.'
' We should probably not agree upon a definition,'
observed Sir John.
' O ! ' she cried, ' I have abominably used him — I
know that ; it is not that I mean. But if you
admire my husband, I insist that you shall under-
stand me : I can look him in the face without a
' It may be, madam,' said Sir John ; ' nor have I
presumed to think the contrary.'
' You will not believe me ? ' she cried. ' You think
I am a guilty wife ? You think he was my lover ? '
' Madam,' returned the Baronet, ' when I tore up
my papers I promised your good husband to concern
myself no more with your affairs ; and I assure you
for the last time that I have no desire to judge you.'
* But you will not acquit me ! Ah ! ' she cried,
* he will — he knows me better ! '
Sir John smiled.
* You smile at my distress ? ' asked Seraphina.
8 At your woman's coolness,' said Sir John. ' A
man would scarce have had the courage of that cry,
which was, for all that, very natural, and I make no
doubt quite true. But remark, madam — since you
do me the honour to consult me gravely — I have no
pity for what you call your distresses. You have
been completely selfish, and now reap the conse-
quence. Had you once thought of your husband,
instead of singly thinking of yourself, you would not
now have been alone, a fugitive, with blood upon
your hands, and hearing from a morose old English-
man truth more bitter than scandal.'
' I thank you,' she said, quivering. ' This is very
true. Will you stop the carriage ?. '
'No, child,' said Sir John, 'not until I see you
mistress of yourself.'
There was a long pause, during which the carriage
rolled by rock and woodland.
' And now,' she resumed, with perfect steadiness,
* will you consider me composed ? I request you, as
a gentleman, to let me out.'
' I think you do unwisely,' he replied. ' Continue,
if you please, to use my carriage.'
' Sir John,' she said, ' if death were sitting on that
pile of stones I would alight ! I do not blame,p
thank you ; I now know how I appear to others ;
but sooner than draw breath beside a man who can
so think of me, I would O ! ' she cried, and was
Sir John pulled the string, alighted, and offered
her his hand, but she refused the help.
The road had now issued from the valleys in which
it had been winding, and come to that part of its
course where it runs, like a corniqe, along the brow
of the steep northward face of Grunewald. The
place where they had alighted was at a salient angle ;
a bold rock and some wind-tortured pine-trees
overhung it from above ; far below the blue plains
lay forth and melted into heaven ; and before them
the road, by a succession of bold zigzags, was seen
mounting to where a tower upon a tall cliff closed
' There,' said the Baronet, pointing to the tower,
'you see the Felsenburg, your goal. I wish you
a good journey, and regret I cannot be of more
He mounted to his place and gave a signal, and
the carriage rolled away.
Seraphina stood by the wayside, gazing before her
with blind eyes. Sir John she had dismissed already
from her mind : she hated him, that was enough ;
for whatever Seraphina hated or contemned fell
instantly to Lilliputian smallness, and was thence-
forward steadily ignored in thought. And now she
had matter for concern indeed. Her interview with
Otto, which she had never yet forgiven him, began
to appear before her in a very different light. He
had come to her, still thrilling under recent insult,
and not yet breathed from fighting her own cause ;
and how that knowledge changed the value of his
words ! Yes, he must have loved her ; this was a
brave feeling — it was no mere weakness of the will.
And she, was she incapable of love? It would
appear so ; and she swallowed her tears, and yearned
to see Otto, to explain all, to ask pity upon her
knees for her transgressions, and, if all else were now
beyond the reach of reparation, to restore at least
the liberty of which she had deprived him.
Swiftly she sped along the highway, and, as the
road wound out and in about the bluffs and gullies
of the mountain, saw and lost by glimpses the tall
tower that stood before and above her, purpled by
the mountain air.
TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE
When Otto mounted to his rolling prison he found
another occupant in a corner of the front seat ; but
as this person hung his head and the brightness of
the carriage-lamps shone outward, the Prince could
only see it was a man. The Colonel followed his
prisoner and clapped-to the door ; and at that the
four horses broke immediately into a swinging trot.
'Gentlemen,' said the Colonel, after some little
while had passed, ' if we are to travel in silence, we
might as well be at home. I appear, of course, in an
invidious character ; but I am a man of taste, fond
of books and solidly informing talk, and unfortunately
condemned for life to the guard-room. Gentlemen,
this is my chance: don't spoil it for me. I have
here the pick of the whole court, barring lovely
woman ; I have a great author in the person of the
' Gotthold ! ' cried Otto.
'It appears,' said the Doctor bitterly, 'that we
must go together. Your Highness had not calculated
TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE
'What do you infer?' cried Otto; 'that I had
you arrested ? '
' The inference is simple,' said the Doctor.
' Colonel Gordon,' said the Prince, ' oblige me so
far, and set me right with Herr von Hohenstock-
* Gentlemen,' said the Colonel, ' you are both
arrested on the same warrant in the name of the
Princess Seraphina, acting regent, countersigned by
Prime Minister Freiherr von Gondremark, and dated
the day before yesterday, the twelfth. I reveal to
you the secrets of the prison-house,' he added.
'Otto,' said Gotthold, 'I ask you to pardon my
* Gotthold,' said the Prince, ' I am not certain I
can grant you that.'
' Your Highness is, I am sure, far too magnanimous
to hesitate,' said the Colonel. ' But allow me : we
speak at home in my religion of the means of grace :
and I now propose to offer them.' So saying, the
Colonel lighted a bright lamp which he attached to
one side of the carriage, and from below the front
seat produced a goodly basket adorned with the
long necks of bottles. ' Tu spent reducis — how
does it go, Doctor?' he asked gaily. 'I am, in
a sense, your host; and I am sure you are both
far too considerate of my embarrassing position to
refuse to do me honour. Gentlemen, I drink to the
Prince ! '
* Colonel,' said Otto, ' we have a jovial entertainer.
I drink to Colonel Gordon.'
TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE
Thereupon all three took their wine very plea-
santly ; and even as they did so, the carriage with a
lurch turned into the high-road and began to make
All was bright within ; the wine had coloured
Gotthold's cheek; dim forms of forest trees, dwindling
and spiring, scarves of the starry sky, now wide and
now narrow, raced past the windows ; through one
that was left open the air of the woods came in with
a nocturnal raciness ; and the roll of wheels and the
tune of the trotting horses sounded merrily on the
ear. Toast followed toast ; glass after glass was
bowed across and emptied by the trio ; and presently
there began to fall upon them a luxurious spell,
under the influence of which little but the sound of
quiet and confidential laughter interrupted the long
intervals of meditative silence.
'Otto,' said Gotthold, after one of these seasons
of quiet, ' I do not ask you to forgive me. Were
the parts reversed, I could not forgive you.'
' Well,' said Otto, ' it is a phrase we use. I do
forgive you, but your words and your suspicions
rankle ; and not yours alone. It is idle, Colonel
Gordon, in view of the order you are carrying out,
to conceal from you the dissensions of my family ;
they have gone so far that they are now public
property. Well, gentlemen, can I forgive my wife ?
I can, of course, and do ; but in what sense ? I
would certainly not stoop to any revenge ; as cer-
tainly I could not think of her but as one changed
beyond my recognition.'
TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE
'Allow me,' returned the Colonel. 'You will
permit me to hope that I am addressing Christians ?
We are all conscious, I trust, that we are miserable
' I disown the consciousness,' said Gotthold.
' Warmed with this good fluid, I deny your thesis.'
' How, sir ? You never did anything wrong ? and
I heard you asking pardon but this moment, not of
your God, sir, but of a common fellow- worm ! ' the
' I own you have me ; you are expert in argument,
Herr Oberst,' said the Doctor.
' Begad, sir, I am proud to hear you say so,' said
the Colonel. ' I was well grounded indeed at
Aberdeen. And as for this matter of forgiveness,
it comes, sir, of loose views and (what is if anything
more dangerous) a regular life. A sound creed and
a bad morality, that's the root of wisdom. You
two gentlemen are too good to be forgiving.'
' The paradox is somewhat forced,' said Gotthold.
'Pardon me, Colonel,' said the Prince; 'I readily
acquit you of any design of offence, but your words
bite like satire. Is this a time, do you think, when
I can wish to hear myself called good, now that I
am paying the penalty (and am willing like yourself
to think it just) of my prolonged misconduct ? '
' O, pardon me ! ' cried the Colonel. ' You have
never been expelled from the divinity hall ; you
have never been broke. I was : broke for a neglect
of military duty. To tell you the open truth, your
Highness, I was the worse of drink ; it 's a thing I
TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE
never do now,' he added, taking out his glass. ' But
a man, you see, who has really tasted the defects of
his own character, as I have, and has come to regard
himself as a kind of blind teetotum knocking about
life, begins to learn a very different view about for-
giveness. I will talk of not forgiving others, sir,
when I have made out to forgive myself, and not
before ; and the date is like to be a long one. My
father, the Reverend Alexander Gordon, was a good
man, and damned hard upon others. I am what
they call a bad one, and that is just the difference.
The man who cannot forgive any mortal thing is a
green hand in life.'
'And yet I have heard of you, Colonel, as a
duellist,' said Gotthold.
' A different thing, sir,' replied the soldier. ' Pro-
fessional etiquette. And I trust without unchristian
Presently after the Colonel fell into a deep sleep ;
and his companions looked upon each other, smiling.
' An odd fish,' said Gotthold.
' And a strange guardian,' said the Prince. 'Yet
what he said was true.'
' Rightly looked upon,' mused Gotthold, ' it is
ourselves that we cannot forgive, when we refuse
forgiveness to our friend. Some strand of our own
misdoing is involved in every quarrel.'
'Are there not offences that disgrace the par-
doner ? ' asked Otto. ' Are there not bounds of self-
respect ? '
'Otto,' said Gotthold, 'does any man respect
TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE
himself ? To this poor waif of a soldier of fortune
we may seem respectable gentlemen; but to our-
selves, what are we unless a pasteboard portico and
a deliquium of deadly weaknesses within ? '
* I ? yes,' said Otto ; ' but you, Gotthold — you,
with your interminable industry, your keen mind,
your books — serving mankind, scorning pleasures
and temptations ! You do not know how I envy
' Otto,' said the Doctor, * in one word, and a bitter
one to say : I am a secret tippler. Yes, I drink too
much. The habit has robbed these very books, to
which you praise my devotion, of the merits that
they should have had. It has spoiled my temper.
When I spoke to you the other day, how much of
my warmth was in the cause of virtue ? how much
was the fever of last night's wine ? Ay, as my poor
fellow-sot there said, and as I vaingloriously denied,
we are all miserable sinners, put here for a moment,
knowing the good, choosing the evil, standing naked
and ashamed in the eye of God.'
' Is it so ? ' said Otto. * Why, then, what are we ?
Are the very best '
* There is no best in man,' said Gotthold. ' I am
not better, it is likely I am not worse, than you or
that poor sleeper. I was a sham, and now you know
me : that is all.'
'And yet it has not changed my love,' returned
Otto softly. * Our misdeeds do not change us.
Gotthold, fill your glass. Let us drink to what is
good in this bad business ; let us drink to our old
TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE
affection ; and, when we have done so, forgive your
too just grounds of offence, and drink with me to
my wife, whom I have so misused, who has so
misused me, and whom I have left, I fear, I greatly
fear, in danger. What matters it how bad we are,
if others can still love us, and we can still love
others ? '
' Ay ! ' replied the Doctor. ' It is very well said.
It is the true answer to the pessimist, and the stand-
ing miracle of mankind. So you still love me ? and
so you can forgive your wife ? Why, then, we may
bid conscience " Down, dog," like an ill-trained
puppy yapping at shadows.'
The pair fell into silence, the Doctor tapping on
his empty glass.
The carriage swung forth out of the valleys on
that open balcony of high-road that runs along the
front of Griinewald, looking down on Gerolstein.
Far below, a white waterfall was shining to the stars
from the falling skirts of forest, and beyond that, the
night stood naked above the plain. On the other
hand, the lamplight skimmed the face of the preci-
pices, and the dwarf pine-trees twinkled with all
their needles, and were gone again into the wake.
The granite roadway thundered under wheels and
hoofs ; and at times, by reason of its continual
winding, Otto could see the escort on the other side
of a ravine, riding well together in the night. Pre-
sently the Felsenburg came plainly in view, some
way above them, on a bold projection of the moun-
tain, and planting its bulk against the starry sky.
TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE
' See, Gotthold,' said the Prince, 'our destination.'
Gotthold awoke as from a trance.
'I was thinking,' said he, 'if there is any danger,
why did you not resist ? I was told you came of
your free will ; but should you not be there to help
The colour faded from the Prince's cheeks.
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN : ACT THE LAST
IN WHICH SHE GALLOPS OFF
When the busy Countess came forth from her inter-
view with Seraphina, it is not too much to say that
she was beginning to be terribly afraid. She paused
in the corridor and reckoned up her doings with an
eye to Gondremark. The fan was in requisition in
an instant ; but her disquiet was beyond the reach
of fanning. ' The girl has lost her head,' she thought;
and then dismally, ' I have gone too far.' She in-
stantly decided on secession. Now the Mons Sacer
of the Frau von Rosen was a certain rustic villa in
the forest, called by herself, in a smart attack of
poesy, Tannen Zauber, and by everybody else plain
Thither, upon the thought, she furiously drove,
passing Gondremark at the entrance to the Palace
avenue, but feigning not to observe him ; and as
Kleinbrunn was seven good miles away, and in the
bottom of a narrow dell, she passed the night with-
out any rumour of the outbreak reaching her ; and
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
the glow of the conflagration was concealed by inter-
vening hills. Frau von Rosen did not sleep well ;
she was seriously uneasy as to the results of her
delightful evening, and saw herself condemned to
quite a lengthy sojourn in her deserts and a long
defensive correspondence, ere she could venture to
return to Gondremark. On the other hand, she
examined, by way of pastime, the deeds she had
received from Otto ; and even here saw cause for
disappointment. In these troublous days she had
no taste for landed property, and she was convinced,
besides, that Otto had paid dearer than the farm was
worth. Lastly, the order for the Prince's release
fairly burned her meddling fingers.
All things considered, the next day beheld an
elegant and beautiful lady, in a riding-habit and a
flapping hat, draw bridle at the gate of the Felsen-
burg, not perhaps with any clear idea of her purpose
but with her usual experimental views on life.
Governor Gordon, summoned to the gate, welcomed
the omnipotent Countess with his most gallant bear-
ing, though it was wonderful how old he looked in
'Ah, Governor,' she said, 'we have surprises for
you, sir,' and nodded at him meaningly.
' Eh, madam, leave me my prisoners,' he said ;
' and if you will but join the band, begad, I '11 be
happy for life.'
' You would spoil me, would you not ? ' she asked.
' I would try, I would try,' returned the Governor,
and he offered her his arm.
She took it, picked up her skirt, and drew him
close to her. ' I have come to see the Prince,' she
said. ' Now, infidel ! on business. A message from
that stupid Gondremark, who keeps me running like
a courier. Do I look like one, Herr Gordon ? ' And
she planted her eyes in him.
'You look like an angel, ma'am,' returned the
Governor, with a great air of finished gallantry.
The Countess laughed. * An angel on horseback ! '
she said. ' Quick work.'
'You came, you saw, you conquered,' flourished
Gordon, in high good humour with his own wit and
grace. 'We toasted you, madam, in the carriage,
in an excellent good glass of wine ; toasted you
fathom deep ; the finest woman, with, begad, the
finest eyes in Griinewald. I never saw the like of
them but once, in my own country, when I was a
young fool at College : Thomasina Haig her name
was. I give you my word of honour, she was as like
you as two peas.'
' And so you were merry in the carriage ? ' asked
the Countess, gracefully dissembling a yawn.
' We were ; we had a very pleasant conversation ;
but we took perhaps a glass more than that fine
fellow of a Prince has been accustomed to,' said the
Governor ; ' and I observe this morning that he
seems a little off his mettle. We '11 get him mellow
again ere bedtime. This is his door.'
'Well,' she whispered, 'let me get my breath.
No, no ; wait. Have the door ready to open.' And
the Countess, standing like one inspired, shook out
9— Q 241
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
her fine voice in ' Lascia ch'io pianga ' ; and when
she had reached the proper point, and lyrically
uttered forth her sighings after liberty, the door, at
a sign, was flung wide open, and she swam into the
Prince's sight, bright-eyed, and with her colour
somewhat freshened by the exercise of singing. It
was a great dramatic entrance, and to the somewhat
doleful prisoner within the sight was sunshine.
' Ah, madam,' he cried, running to her — ' you
here ! '
She looked meaningly at Gordon ; and as soon as
the door was closed she fell on Otto's neck. ' To
see you here ! ' she moaned and clung to him.
But the Prince stood somewhat stiffly in that en-
viable situation, and the Countess instantly recovered
from her outburst.
' Poor child,' she said, ' poor child ! Sit down
beside me here, and tell me all about it. My heart
really bleeds to see you. How does time go ? '
* Madam,' replied the Prince, sitting down beside
her, his gallantry recovered, ' the time will now go
all too quickly till you leave. But I must ask you
for the news. I have most bitterly condemned my-
self for my inertia of last night. You wisely coun-
selled me : it was my duty to resist. You wisely
and nobly counselled me ; I have since thought of it
with wonder. You have a noble heart.'
* Otto,' she said, * spare me. Was it even right,
I wonder ? I have duties, too, you poor child ; and
when I see you they all melt — all my good resolu-
tions fly away.'
* And mine still come too late,' he replied, sighing.
' O, what would I not give to have resisted ?
What would I not give for freedom ? '
* Well, what would you give ? ' she asked ; and
the red fan was spread; only her eyes, as if from
over battlements, brightly surveyed him.
' I ? What do you mean ? Madam, you have
some news for me,' he cried.
■ O, O ! ' said madam dubiously.
He was at her feet. ' Do not trifle ..with my
hopes,' he pleaded. ' Tell me, dearest Madame von
Rosen, tell me ! You cannot be cruel : it is not in
your nature. Give ? I can give nothing ; I have
nothing ; I can only plead in mercy.'
' Do not,' she said ; ' it is not fair. Otto, you know
my weakness. Spare me. Be generous.
* O, madam,' he said, ' it is for you to be generous,
to have pity.' He took her hand and pressed it ; he
plied her with caresses and appeals. The Countess
had a most enjoyable sham siege, and then relented.
She sprang to her feet, she tore her dress open, and,
all warm from her bosom, threw the order on the
' There ! ' she cried. ' I forced it from her. Use
it, and I am ruined ! ' And she turned away as if
to veil the force of her emotions.
Otto sprang upon the paper, read it, and cried out
aloud. ' O, God bless her ! ' he said, * God bless
her.' And he kissed the writing.
Von Rosen was a singularly good-natured woman,
but her part was now beyond her. * Ingrate ! ' she
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
cried ; ' I wrung it from her, I betrayed my trust to
get it, and 'tis she you thank ! '
' Can you blame me ? ' said the Prince. ' I love her.'
' I see that,' she said. ' And I ? '
' You, Madame von Rosen ? You are my dearest,
my kindest, and most generous of friends,' he said,
approaching her. ' You would be a perfect friend,
if you were not so lovely. You have a great sense
of humour, you cannot be unconscious of your
charm, and you amuse yourself at times by playing
on my weakness ; and at times I can take pleasure
in the comedy. But not to-day : to-day you will be
the true, the serious, the manly friend, and you will
suffer me to forget that you are lovely and that I
am weak. Come, dear Countess, let me to-day
repose in you entirely.'
He held out his hand, smiling, and she took it
frankly. ' I vow you have bewitched me,' she said ;
and then with a laugh, ' I break my staff ! ' she
added ; ' and I must pay you my best compliment.
You made a difficult speech. You are as adroit,
dear Prince, as I am — charming.' And as she said
the word with a great curtsey, she justified it.
' You hardly keep the bargain, madam, when you
make yourself so beautiful,' said the Prince, bowing.
' It was my last arrow,' she returned. * I am
disarmed. Blank cartridge, O mon Prince! And
now I tell you, if you choose to leave this prison,
you can, and I am ruined. Choose ! '
' Madame von Rosen,' replied Otto, ' I choose, and
I will go. My duty points me, duty still neglected
by this Featherhead. But do not fear to be a loser.
I propose instead that you should take me with you,
a bear in chains, to Baron Gondremark. I am be-
come perfectly unscrupulous : to save my wife I
will do all, all he can ask or fancy. He shall be
filled ; were he huge as leviathan and greedy as the
grave, I will content him. And you, the fairy of
our pantomime, shall have the credit.'
* Done ! ' she cried. * Admirable ! Prince Charm-
ing no longer — Prince Sorcerer, Prince Solon ! Let
us go this moment. Stay,' she cried, pausing. * I
beg, dear Prince, to give you back these deeds.
'Twas you who liked the farm — I have not seen it ;
and it was you who wished to benefit the peasants.
And, besides,' she added, with a comical change of
tone, ' I should prefer the ready money.'
Both laughed. ' Here I am, once more a farmer,'
said Otto, accepting the papers, ' but overwhelmed
The Countess touched a bell, and the Governor
' Governor,' she said, * I am going to elope with
his Highness. The result of our talk has been a
thorough understanding, and the coup aVitat is over.
Here is the order.'
Colonel Gordon adjusted silver spectacles upon
his nose. 'Yes,' he said, 'the Princess : very right.
But the warrant, madam, was countersigned.'
' By Heinrich ! ' said von Rosen. ' Well, and here
am I to represent him.'
'Well, your Highness,' resumed the soldier of
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
fortune, ' I must congratulate you upon my loss.
You have been cut out by beauty, and I am left
lamenting. The Doctor still remains to me : probus,
doctus, lepidus,jucundus : a man of books.'
' Ay, there is nothing about poor Gotthold,' said
' The Governor's consolation ? Would you leave
him bare ? ' asked von Rosen.
'And, your Highness,' resumed Gordon, 'may I
trust that in the course of this temporary obscura-
tion you have found me discharge my part with
suitable respect and, I may add, tact? I adopted
purposely a cheerfulness of manner ; mirth, it ap-
peared to me, and a good glass of wine, were the fit
' Colonel,' said Otto, holding out his hand, ' your
society was of itself enough. I do not merely thank
you for your pleasant spirits ; I have to thank you,
besides, for some philosophy, of which I stood in
need. I trust I do not see you for the last time ;
and in the meanwhile, as a memento of our strange
acquaintance, let me offer you these verses on which
I was but now engaged. I am so little of a poet,
and was so ill inspired by prison bars, that they have
some claim to be at least a curiosity.'
The Colonel's countenance lighted as he took the
paper ; the silver spectacles were hurriedly replaced.
' Ha ! ' he said, ' Alexandrines, the tragic metre. I
shall cherish this, your Highness, like a relic ; no
more suitable offering, although I say it, could be
made. " Dieuoc de V immense plaine et des vastes
forets." Very good,' he said, ' very good indeed !
" Et du geolier lui-meme apprendre des lepons"
Most handsome, begad ! '
' Come, Governor,' cried the Countess, ' you can
read his poetry when we are gone. Open your
' I ask your pardon,' said the Colonel. ' To a
man of my character and tastes, these verses, this
handsome reference — most moving, I assure you.
Can I offer you an escort ? '
' No, no,' replied the Countess. ' We go incogniti,
as we arrived. We ride together ; the Prince will
take my servant's horse. Hurry and privacy, Herr
Oberst, that is all we seek.' And she began im-
patiently to lead the way.
But Otto had still to bid farewell to Dr. Gott-
hold ; and, the Governor following, with his spectacles
in one hand and the paper in the other, had still to
communicate his treasured verses, piece by piece, as
he succeeded in deciphering the manuscript, to all
he came across ; and still his enthusiasm mounted.
* I declare,' he cried at last, with the air of one who
has at length divined a mystery, ' they remind me of
Robbie Burns ! '
But there is an end to all things ; and at length
Otto was walking by the side of Madame von Rosen
along that mountain wall, her servant following with
both the horses, and all about them sunlight, and
breeze, and flying bird, and the vast regions of the
air, and the capacious prospect : wildwood and climb-
ing pinnacle, and the sound and voice of mountain
PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN
torrents, at their hand : and far below them, green
melting into sapphire on the plains.
They walked at first in silence ; for Otto's mind
was full of the delight of liberty and nature, and
still, betweenwhiles, he was preparing his interview
with Gondremark. But when the first rough pro-
montory of the rock was turned, and the Felsenburg
concealed behind its bulk, the lady paused.
' Here,' she said, ' I will dismount poor Karl, and
you and I must ply our spurs. I love a wild ride
with a good companion.'
As she spoke, a carriage came into sight round the
corner next below them in the order of the road.
It came heavily creaking, and a little ahead of it a
traveller was soberly walking, note-book in hand.
' It is Sir John,' cried Otto, and he hailed him.
The Baronet pocketed his note-book, stared
through an eye-glass, and then waved his stick ;
and he on his side, and the Countess and the Prince
on theirs, advanced with somewhat quicker steps.
They met at the re-entrant angle, where a thin
stream sprayed across a boulder and was scattered
in rain among the brush ; and the Baronet saluted
the Prince with much punctilio. To the Countess,
on the other hand, he bowed with a kind of sneering
' Is it possible, madam, that you have not heard
the news ? ' he asked.
* What news ? ' she cried.
' News of the first order,' returned Sir John : ' a
revolution in the State, a Republic declared, the
palace burned to the ground, the Princess in flight,
Gondremark wounded '
* Heinrich wounded ? ' she screamed.
' Wounded and suffering acutely,' said Sir John.
* His groans '
There fell from the lady's lips an oath so potent
that, in smoother hours, it would have made her
hearers jump. She ran to her horse, scrambled to
the saddle, and, yet half-seated, dashed down the
road at full gallop. The groom, after a pause of
wonder, followed her. The rush of her impetuous
passage almost scared the carriage-horses over the
verge of the steep hill ; and still she clattered further
and the crags echoed to her flight, and still the groom
flogged vainly in pursuit of her. At the fourth
corner, a woman trailing slowly up leaped back with
a cry and escaped death by a hand's-breadth. But
the Countess wasted neither glance nor thought
upon the incident. Out and in, about the bluffs of
the mountain wall, she fled, loose-reined, and still
the groom toiled in her pursuit.
* A most impulsive lady ! ' said Sir John. * Who
would have thought she cared for him ? ' And be-
fore the words were uttered, he was struggling in
the Prince's grasp.
* My wife ! the Princess ? What of her ? '
' She is down the road,' he gasped. ' I left her
twenty minutes back.'
And next moment the choked author stood alone,
and the Prince on foot was racing down the hill
behind the Countess.
BABES IN THE WOOD
While the feet of the Prince continued to run
swiftly, his heart, which had at first by far out-
stripped his running, soon began to linger and hang
back. Not that he ceased to pity the misfortune or
to yearn for the sight of Seraphina ; but the memory
of her obdurate coldness awoke within him, and
woke in turn his own habitual diffidence of self.
Had Sir John been given time to tell him all, had he
even known that she was speeding to the Felsen-
burg, he would have gone to her with ardour. As
it was, he began to see himself once more intruding,
profiting, perhaps, by her misfortune, and now that
she was fallen, proffering unloved caresses to the
wife who had spurned him in prosperity. The sore
spots upon his vanity began' to burn ; once more, his
anger assumed the carriage of a hostile generosity ;
he would utterly forgive indeed ; he would help,
save, and comfort his unloving wife ; but all with
distant self-denial, imposing silence on his heart,
respecting Seraphina's disaffection as he would the
BABES IN THE WOOD
innocence of a child. So, when at length he turned
a corner and beheld the Princess, it was his first
thought to reassure her of the purity of his respect,
and he at once ceased running and stood still. She,
upon her part, began to run to him with a little cry ;
then, seeing him pause, she paused also, smitten with
remorse ; and at length, with the most guilty timidity,
walked nearly up to where he stood.
' Otto,' she said, ' I have ruined all ! '
' Seraphina ! ' he cried with a sob, but did not
move, partly withheld by his resolutions, partly
struck stupid at the sight of her weariness and dis-
order. Had she stood silent, they had soon been
locked in an embrace. But she too had prepared
herself against the interview, and must spoil the
golden hour with protestations.
' All ! ' she went on, ' I have ruined all ! But,
Otto, in kindness you must hear me — not justify,
but own, my faults. I have been taught so cruelly ;
I have had such time for thought, and see the world
so changed. I have been blind, stone-blind ; I have
let all true good go by me, and lived on shadows.
But when this dream fell, and I had betrayed you,
and thought I had killed ' She paused. ' I
thought I had killed Gondremark,' she said with a
deep flush, 'and I found myself alone, as you said.'
The mention of the name of Gondremark pricked
the Prince's generosity like a spur. ' Well,' he cried,
' and whose fault was it but mine ? It was my duty
to be beside you, loved or not. But I was a skulker
in the grain, and found it easier to desert than to
BABES IN THE WOOD
oppose you. I could never learn that better part of
love, to fight love's battles. But yet the love was
there. And now when this toy kingdom of ours
has fallen, first of all by my demerits, and next by
your inexperience, and we are here alone together,
as poor as Job and merely a man and a woman —
let me conjure you to forgive the weakness and to
repose in the love. Do not mistake me ! ' he cried,
seeing her about to speak, and imposing silence with
uplifted hand. ' My love is changed ; it is purged
of any conjugal pretension ; it does not ask, does
not hope, does not wish for a return in kind. You
may forget for ever that part in which you found
me so distasteful, and accept without embarrassment
the affection of a brother.'
' You are too generous, Otto,' she said. ' I know
that I have forfeited your love. I cannot take this
sacrifice. You had far better leave me. O go
away, and leave me to my fate ! '
' O no ! ' said Otto ; * we must first of all escape
out of this hornets' nest, to which I led you. My
honour is engaged. I said but now we were as poor
as Job ; and behold ! not many miles from here I
have a house of my own to which I will conduct
you. Otto the Prince being down, we must try
what luck remains to Otto the Hunter. Come,
Seraphina ; show that you forgive me, and let us
set about this business of escape in the best spirits
possible. You used to say, my dear, that, except
as a husband and a prince, I was a pleasant fellow.
I am neither now, and you may like my company
BABES IN THE WOOD
without remorse. Come, then ; it were idle to be
captured. Can you still walk ? Forth, then,' said
he, and he began to lead the way.
A little below where they stood, a good-sized
brook passed below the road, which overleapt it in a
single arch. On one bank of that loquacious water
a footpath descended a green dell. Here it was
rocky and stony, and lay on the steep scarps of the
ravine ; here it was choked with brambles ; and there,
in fairy haughs, it lay for a few paces evenly on the
green turf. Like a sponge, the hillside oozed with
well-water. The burn kept growing both in force
and volume ; at every leap it fell with heavier
plunges and span more widely in the pool. Great
had been the labours of that stream, and great and
agreeable the changes it had wrought. It had cut
through dykes of stubborn rock, and now, like
a blowing dolphin, spouted through the orifice ;
along all its humble coasts, it had undermined and
rafted-down the goodlier timber of the forest ; and
on these rough clearings it now set and tended prim-
rose gardens, and planted woods of willow, and
made a favourite of the silver birch. Through all
these friendly features, the path, its human acolyte,
conducted our two wanderers downward, — Otto
before, still pausing at the more difficult passages
to lend assistance ; the Princess following. From
time to time, when he turned to help her, her face
would lighten upon his — her eyes, half desperately,
woo him. He saw, but dared not understand.
'She does not love me,' he told himself, with
BABES IN THE WOOD
magnanimity. 'This is remorse or gratitude; I
were no gentleman, no, nor yet a man, if I presumed
upon these pitiful concessions.'
Some way down the glen, the stream, already
grown to a good bulk of water, was rudely dammed
across, and about a third of it abducted in a wooden
trough. Gaily the pure water, air's first cousin,
fleeted along the rude aqueduct, whose sides and
floor it had made green with grasses. The path,
bearing it close company, threaded a wilderness of
briar and wild-rose. And presently, a little in front,
the brown top of a mill and the tall mill-wheel,
spraying diamonds, arose in the narrows of the glen ;
at the same time the snoring music of the saws
broke the silence.
The miller, hearing steps, came forth to his door,
and both he and Otto started.
' Good-morning, miller,' said the Prince. ' You
were right, it seems, and I was wrong. I give you
the news, and bid you to Mittwalden. My throne
has fallen — great was the fall of it ! — and your good
friends of the Phoenix bear the rule.'
The red-faced miller looked supreme astonish-
ment. ' And your Highness ? ' he gasped.
' My Highness is running away,' replied Otto,
'straight for the frontier.'
' Leaving Griinewald ? ' cried the man. ' Your
father's son ? It 's not to be permitted ! '
' Do you arrest us, friend? ' asked Otto, smiling.
' Arrest you ? I ? ' exclaimed the man. ' For
what does your Highness take me? Why, sir, I
BABES IN THE WOOD
make sure there is not a man in Griinewald would
lay hands upon you.'
' O, many, many,' said the Prince ; ' but from
you, who were bold with me in my greatness, I
should even look for aid in my distress.'
The miller became the colour of beetroot. ' You
may say so indeed,' said he. 'And meanwhile, will
you and your lady step into my house ? '
* We have not time for that,' replied the Prince; 'but
if you would oblige us with a cup of wine without
here, you will give a pleasure and a service, both in one.'
The miller once more coloured to the nape. He
hastened to bring forth wine in a pitcher and three
bright crystal tumblers. ' Your Highness must not
suppose,' he said, as he filled them, 'that I am an
habitual drinker. The time when I had the mis-
fortune to encounter you I was a trifle overtaken, I
allow; but a more sober man than I am in my
ordinary, I do not know where you are to look for ;
and even this glass that I drink to you (and to the
lady) is quite an unusual recreation.'
The wine was drunk with due rustic courtesies ;
and then, refusing further hospitality, Otto and
Seraphina once more proceeded to descend the glen,
which now began to open and to be invaded by the
' I owed that man a reparation,' said the Prince ;
' for when we met I was in the wrong and put a sore
affront upon him. I judge by myself, perhaps ; but
I begin to think that no one is the better for a
BABES IN THE WOOD
'But some have to be taught so,' she replied.
'Well, well,' he said, with a painful embarrass-
ment. 'Well, well. But let us think of safety.
My miller is all very good, but I do not pin my
faith to him. To follow down this stream will
bring us, but after innumerable windings, to my
house. Here, up this glade, there lies a cross-cut —
the world's end for solitude — the very deer scarce
visit it. Are you too tired, or could you pass that
' Choose the path, Otto. I will follow you,' she
'No,' he replied, with a singular imbecility of
manner and appearance, ' but I meant the path was
rough. It lies, all the way, by glade and dingle, and
the dingles are both deep and thorny.'
' Lead on,' she said. ' Are you not Otto the
Hunter ? '
They had now burst across a veil of underwood,
and were come into a lawn among the forest, very
green and innocent, and solemnly surrounded by
trees. Otto paused on the margin, looking about
him with delight ; then his glance returned to
Seraphina, as she stood framed in that silvan
pleasantness and looking at her husband with un-
decipherable eyes. A weakness both of the body
and mind fell on him like beginnings of sleep ; the
cords of his activity were relaxed, his eyes clung to
her. ' Let us rest,' he said ; and he made her sit
down, and himself sat down beside her on the slope
of an inconsiderable mound.
BABES IN THE WOOD
She sat with her eyes downcast, her slim hand
dabbling in grass, like a maid waiting for love's
summons. The sound of the wind in the forest
swelled and sank, and drew near them with a run-
ning rush, and died away and away in the distance
into fainting whispers. Nearer hand, a bird out of
the deep covert uttered broken and anxious notes.
All this seemed but a halting prelude to speech.
To Otto it seemed as if the whole frame of nature
were waiting for his words ; and yet his pride kept
him silent. The longer he watched that slender
and pale hand plucking at the grasses, the harder
and rougher grew the fight between pride and its
* Seraphina,' he said at last, ' it is right you should
know one thing : I never . . . ' He was about to
say ' doubted you,' but was that true ? And, if true,
was it generous to speak of it ? Silence succeeded.
'I pray you, tell it me,' she said; 'tell it me, in
' I mean only this,' he resumed, * that I under-
stand all, and do not blame you. I understand how
the brave woman must look down on the weak man.
I think you were wrong in some things ; but I have
tried to understand it, and I do. I do not need to
forget or to forgive, Seraphina, for I have under-
' I know what I have done,' she said. ' I am not
so weak that I can be deceived with kind speeches.
I know what I have been — I see myself. I am not
worth your anger, how much less to be forgiven !
9— r 257
BABES IN THE WOOD
In all this downfall and misery, I see only me and
you : you, as you have been always ; me, as I was —
me, above all! O yes, I see myself; and what can
' Ah, then, let us reverse the parts ! ' said Otto.
* It is ourselves we cannot forgive, when we deny
forgiveness to another — so a friend told me last
night. On these terms, Seraphina, you see how
generously I have forgiven myself. But am not /
to be forgiven ? Come, then, forgive yourself —
She did not answer in words, but reached out her
hand to him quickly. He took it ; and as the smooth
fingers settled and nestled in his, love ran to and fro
between them in tender and transforming currents.
' Seraphina,' he cried, ' O forget the past ! Let
me serve and help you ; let me be your servant ; it
is enough for me to serve you and to be near
you ; let me be near you, dear — do not send me
away.' He hurried his pleading like the speech of a
frightened child. ' It is not love,' he went on ; ' I
do not ask for love ; my love is enough . . .'
• Otto ! ' she said, as if in pain.
He looked up into her face. It was wrung with
the very ecstasy of tenderness and anguish ; on her
features, and most of all in her changed eyes, there
shone the very light of love.
' Seraphina ? ' he cried aloud, and with a sudden,
tuneless voice, ' Seraphina ? '
'Look round you at this glade,' she cried, 'and
where the leaves are comin gon young trees, and the
BABES IN THE WOOD
flowers begin to blossom. This is where we meet,
meet for the first time ; it is so much better to
forget and to be born again. O what a pit there is
for sins — God's mercy, man's oblivion ! '
'Seraphina,' he said, 'let it be so, indeed; let all
that was be merely the abuse of dreaming ; let me
begin again, a stranger. I have dreamed, in a long
dream, that I adored a girl unkind and beautiful ; in
all things my superior, but still cold, like ice. And
again I dreamed, and thought she changed and
melted, glowed and turned to me. And I — who
had no merit but a love, slavish and unerect — lay
close, and durst not move for fear of waking.'
' Lie close,' she said, with a deep thrill of speech.
So they spake in the spring woods ; and mean-
while, in Mittwalden Rath-haus, the Republic was
TO COMPLETE THE STORY
The reader well informed in modern history will not
require details as to the fate of the Republic. The
best account is to found in the memoirs of Herr
Greisengesang (7 Bande : Leipzig), by our passing
acquaintance the licentiate Roederer. Herr Roederer,
with too much of an author's licence, makes a great
figure of his hero — poses him, indeed, to be the
centre-piece and cloud-compeller of the whole. But,
with due allowance for this bias, the book is able
The reader is of course acquainted with the
vigorous and bracing pages of Sir John (2 vols.,
London : Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown).
Sir John, who plays but a tooth-comb in the orchestra
of this historical romance, blows in his own book
the big bassoon. His character is there drawn at
large ; and the sympathy of Landor has counter-
signed the admiration of the public. One point,
however, calls for explanation ; the chapter on
Griinewald was torn by the hand of the author in
the palace gardens ; how comes it, then, to figure at
full length among my more modest pages, the Lion
of the caravan ? That eminent literatus was a man
of method ; ' Juvenal by double entry,' he was once
profanely called ; and when he tore the sheets in
question, it was rather, as he has since explained,
in the search for some dramatic evidence of his
sincerity, than with the thought of practical deletion.
At that time, indeed, he was possessed of two blotted
scrolls and a fair copy in double. But the chapter,
as the reader knows, was honestly omitted from the
famous 'Memoirs on the various Courts of Europe.'
It has been mine to give it to the public.
Bibliography still helps us with a further glimpse
of our characters. I have here before me a small
volume (printed for private circulation : no printer's
name ; n.d.), ' Poesies par Frederic et Amelie.'
Mine is a presentation copy, obtained for me by Mr.
Bain in the Haymarket ; and the name of the first
owner is written on the fly-leaf in the hand of
Prince Otto himself. The modest epigraph — 'Le
rime n'est pas riche ' — may be attributed, with a
good show of likelihood, to the same collaborator.
It is strikingly appropriate, and I have found the
volume very dreary. Those pieces in which I seem
to trace the hand of the Princess are particularly
dull and conscientious. But the booklet had a fair
success with that public for which it was designed ;
and I have come across some evidences of a second
venture of the same sort, now unprocurable. Here,
at least, we may take leave of Otto and Seraphina —
what do I say? of Frederic and Amelie — ageing
together peaceably at the court of the wife's father,
jingling French rhymes and correcting joint proofs.
Still following the book-lists, I perceive that Mr.
Swinburne has dedicated a rousing lyric and some
vigorous sonnets to the memory of Gondremark ;
that name appears twice at least in Victor Hugo's
trumpet- blasts of patriot enumeration ; and I came
latterly, when I supposed my task already ended, on
a trace of the fallen politician and his Countess. It
is in the 'Diary of J. Hogg Cotterill, Esq.' (that
very interesting work). Mr. Cotterill, being at
Naples, is introduced (May 27th) to ' a Baron and
Baroness Gondremark — he a man who once made a
noise — she still beautiful — both witty. She com-
plimented me much upon my French — should never
have known me to be English — had known my
uncle, Sir John, in Germany — recognised in me, as
a family trait, some of his grand air and studious
courtesy — asked me to call.' And again (May
30th), ' visited the Baronne de Gondremark — much
gratified — a most refined, intelligent woman, quite of
the old school, now, helas ! extinct — had read my
Remarks on Sicily — it reminds her of my uncle, but
with more of grace — I feared she thought there was
less energy — assured no — a softer style of presenta-
tion, more of the literary grace, but the same firm
grasp of circumstance and force of thought — in
short, just Buttonhole's opinion. Much encouraged.
I have a real esteem for this patrician lady.' The
acquaintance lasted some time ; and when Mr.
TO COMPLETE THE STORY
Cotterill left in the suite of Lord Protocol, and, as
he is careful to inform us, in Admiral Yardarm's
flag-ship, one of his chief causes of regret is to leave
'that most spirituelle and sympathetic lady, who
already regards me as a younger brother.'